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LIFE ON HIGH LEVELS 

FAMILIAR TALKS 

ON 

THE CONDUCT OF LIFE 



MARGARET E. SANGSTER 

Author of " Maidie's Problem and One of Themselves,' 

" Easter Bells," " On the Road Home,'' 

" With My Neighbors," etc. 




C i 
■ 



NEW YORK : EATON & MAINS 
CINCINNATI: CURTS & JENNINGS 

IS97 

DlSCIPLIANA ". 



ATL 






Copyright by 

EATON & MAINS, 

1897. 



The General Cabinet of the Epworth League, who select 
the books for the Epworth League Reading Course, thereby 
commend the general thought contained in them. They do 
not wish, however, to be held responsible for every detail 
of treatment and statement which may occur in the volumes. 
EDWIN A. SCHELL, 

General Secretary. 



TO ONE 

WHOSE LIFE AND WORDS 

HAVE BEEN TO ME A CONSTANT INSPIRATION. 

MY DEAR FRIEND 

EDWARD P. TERHUNE, D.D. 



FOREWORD. 



T HAVE bad in mind while writing this book 
* thousands of young people to whom life is 
something more than a holiday. They are in 
earnest. They are filled with desire to lead that 
consecrated life which has heaven as its ultimate 
goal, but which is in touch with the Master all 
the way on. Life more and more is to my 
thought a pilgrim path, a path filled with 
opportunities for service, and these quiet bits of 
talk, just "among ourselves," are meant to be 
helpful and encouraging to those who stand in 
the forefront, with the days marching on before 
them, and Christ their acknowledged Captain 
and Leader bidding them confidently go for- 
ward. 

For these young people I am happy to cull 
some results of my experience, glad to give 
them some impressions drawn from observa- 
tion, and I send my little talks out with love 
and longing. There is a cordial hand-clasp in 
every chapter for every reader, for every 
reader is my friend. 

MAKC4ARKT E. SaXGSTER. 



CONTENTS 



Chap. Page. 

I. Our Place in the World, - - - 11 

II. Choosing an Avocation, ... 21 

III. Of Earning and Spending, 29 

IV. The Higher Education, - - - 39 

V. Short Views, 47 

VI. The Books We Read, - - - 55 

VII. The Letters We Write and Receive, - 65 

VIII. Kinsfolk and Friends, .... 75 

IX. Of Falling in Love, .... 83 

X. The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood, - 91 
XL The Club, 101 

XII. Our Girl in Business, .... 107 

XIII. The Duty of Health, .... 117 

XIV. Our Daily Talk, .... 129 

XV. The Engaged Couple, - - - - 137 

XVI. " Beginning Where Parents Leave Off," 145 

XVII. Domestic Finance, - - - - 153 

XVIII. Shall the Wife be a Breadwinner, - 101 

XIX. Rich Girls and Wage- Earning, - - 1(37 

XX. The Maiden Aunt, .... 175 
XXL Hospitality, 183 

XXII. The Neglected Rich, .... 195 

XXIII. Dull Days, 199 

XXIV. Of Simple Accomplishments, - - 205 

XXV. The Desire to Write, .... 213 

XXVI. About Committing to Memory, - - 221 

XXVII. Candor at Home, 227 





Contents. 




Chap. 




Page. 


XXVIII. 


Good Citizenship, 


239 


XXIX. 


Our Debt to the Ministry, 


- 245 


XXX. 


Why Should I Join the Church ? 


257 


XXXI. 


The Christ in His People, 


- 265 


XXXII. 


Our American Sabbath, 


273 


XXXIII. 


Of A^isiting the Sick, 


- 283 


XXXIV. 


Attention to the Old, 


291 


XXXV. 


Of Giving as Worship, - 


299 


XXXVI. 


Milestones on the Road, 


305 


XXXVII. 


The Value of Odd Moments, - 
8 


- 313 



Our Place in the World 



LIFE ON HIGH LEVELS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Out Place In the World. 

TN the happy clays of childhood we naturally 
* take everything for granted. Life does not 
trouble us, nor does care burden our hearts. Our 
duties are appointed for us by our parents and 
teachers; oiu 1 homes are made sweet and safe 
by their loving care ; and food, raiment, school, 
work, and play come to us like the outgoings of 
the morning and evening — are as little matters of 
forethought on our part as are the rain and the 
sunshine, the dew and the cloud, the pageant of 
the flowers and the ripening of the fruits. To the 
child it does not make much difference whether 
the house he lives in be a palace or a cottage, for 
father and mother are there and brothers and sis- 
ters, and it is his world of home. There may be 
poverty in the household and even want, and the 
mother and father be anxious, but the child does 
not realize this, and during the first joyous years 
the shadows pass him by. Unless he is actually 
very cold or very hungry, and the cold and hunger 

II 



Life on High Levels 

are not at once appeased, he is not at all aware 
that he is an object of pity. The child is in the 
home, and the age of responsibility for his own 
support and his own needs has not yet arrived. 
Blessed are these days of our inexperience, when 
provision is made for us by watchful love which 
folds us close as under brooding wings. 

With some of us this delightful sense of being 
cared for, this pleasant living from day to day 
without struggle and without anxiety, continues 
all through the early years, and does not vanish 
until childhood is merged in the busy years of 
youth. With some of us again the time of taking 
thought for ourselves comes earlier. Either we 
are naturally more observing than others, or cir- 
cumstances force upon us the necessity of inde- 
pendent action, but however it may be, we one 
day awaken to the knowledge that we must stand 
on our own feet, that our time has come to answer 
to our names. Often this awakening brings with 
it a thrill of pleasure. There is pure joy in han- 
dling the first money one has actually earned, and 
untold satisfaction in handing over a portion of it 
to the dear ones who so long have toiled for us. 
Our turn now, we cry, glad to relieve those older 
and patient hearts which are growing weary in 
bearing the heat and burden of the day. Our 
turn now ! We hold up our heads and step along 
gayly, and feel happy that we have found our 

12 



Our Place in the World 

place in the world. I pity the man who never 
thus trod on air, and heard the beat of martial 
drums inaudible to his fellows. 

An obscure place, a very humble place it may 
be, this one that God first gives us, but it is ours, 
and we may ennoble it. The boy who sweeps out 
an office and rims on errands, as compared to the 
head of the great firm, is a comparatively un- 
noticed person, but if he have good business 
habits, and if he perform his part of the day's 
work thoroughly and faithfully, he will not al- 
ways bean office boy. And while he is, it is quite 
as important that he shirk nothing, that he be 
prompt, brisk, cheerful, obliging, and efficient, 
as that anybody else in the establishment shall 
be capable, amiable, and punctual. 

Away back in the years that lie behind me, 
there was given to me the chance to do a little bit 
of work. Perhaps you would like to hear about 
it. I was studying French and my French mas- 
ter was a scholarly and interesting man, who had 
been in the military service, and who liked in his 
leisure hours to try his hand at verse making. He 
would sometimes bring his little lyrics into the 
class room and read them to his pupils, often 
giving them to us to translate. But " Alas ! " he 
would cry, with an amusing shrug of the shoul- 
ders and a tragic emphasis, "my beautiful stanzas 
cannot be put into— what do you say ? — into the 

13 



Life on High Levels 

English meter, the jingle? When you translate 
them, young ladies, they are plain prose, like the 
road the sleigh goes over when there is no snow." 

Fired with an enthusiastic desire to help the 
poor professor, I, a little maiden of fourteen, one 
day offered my assistance. I knew I could make 
rhymes. It occurred to me that I could dress my 
friendly teacher's thoughts in a metrical English 
form; at all events I would try. Try I did, and 
the result was that The Fireman and Other 
Poems, in a brilliant red and gold cover, saw the 
light, and gave pleasure to a select circle of ac- 
quaintances, cheering the soul of the honest and 
gallant French gentleman, ex-warrior, and tutor 
of girls, a man who, though a scholar, was hardly 
a poet, and affording to one little painstaking girl 
an excellent school in composition. To that piece 
of obscure translation, she probably owes her 
present place in the world, and her present work, 
though a long time passed, filled with other duties, 
before she took up the literary profession with a 
definite end in view. 

A place is waiting for you, my bright-eyed girl 
reader, and your present most important engage- 
ment is to get ready for the place. You may feel a 
little impatient that events move on so slowly, that 
you are able to do so little, and must make such 
slight advances, whenyou are quivering with desire 
to rush on, and feel that you could overcome every 

14 



Our Place in the World 

obstacle, if only you had a chance. It is hard to 
stay at home, cook the dinner, and wash the dishes, 
when you are panting to go out and sing or paint 
or write or study medicine, or do some other of the 
beautiful things which beckon you on. There 
are so many dishes to be washed that even an 
ordinary meal accumulates enough of them to 
prove the clearing away a tiresome piece of work : 
and then, when there are three meals a day, dish- 
washing grows monotonous. So it is with other 
ever-recurring domestic tasks ; they seem petty 
and entail drudgery, and look disproportionate to 
life in the demands they make on one's time and 
strength. 

Yet I am of the opinion that there is a noble 
and fine and dignified way of performing every 
task, and I fancy that a queen or an angel might 
make the homely labor of clearing away a meal 
as attractive and as fascinating a sight as one is 
ever likely to behold on this green earth. 

Your place in this world to-day may be at home, 
with simple daily tasks, many of them drudgery. 
It may be in the countingroom, in the factory, 
in the shop, with long hours and small payment. 
It may be a shadowy little place, but contentment 
and fidelity will flood it Avith sunshine. Glorify 
the work, and the work will glorify the place. 
Never mind about yourself, let the work praise 
you. 

*5 



Life on High Levels 

There was once a man who set out to write the 
life of his friend. He was so full of his friend's 
wonderful powers, so impressed with the thought 
that every little thing his friend did, every word 
his friend said, was worth talking about and pre- 
serving, that it never occurred to him to bring 
himself forward in the least. His business was to 
describe a great man so that the world should 
see the greatness, and love the distinctive features 
which made it extraordinary and remarkable. 
So living and writing and forgetting everything 
but his object, Alexander Bosvvell wrote the life 
of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the most charming biog- 
raphy of a man of letters ever given to an ad- 
miring world. The book has the indestructible 
immortality of genius, but its crowning excellence 
is due to the unselfish enthusiasm of the man 
who wrote it. The worker was hidden behind the 
work. 

A young man left college a score of years ago, 
handicapped by a record of crime on the part of 
his father. He was blameless, but there was a 
stain on his name. Before God, in solemn sur- 
render of himself, that young man vowed to re- 
deem the family name. He found a lowly place 
— the merest standing room in the yard of a 
great corporation, no more. Of the army of men 
and boys in the employ of that rich company, 
none was less conspicuous, none was apparently 

16 



Our Place in the World 

less likely to rise than the one of whom I am 
speaking. But whoever secures a foothold may 
climb if he choose, and this lad chose to climb. 
To-day he is at the head of an important and 
widely-known enterprise. Hundreds obey his 
word. He was promoted slowly at first, then 
rapidly. Every one respects him, every one 
recognizes his marked ability, and that ability 
is built on a superb integrity and an absolute in- 
difference to ease, to luxury, or to self-aggrandize- 
ment. He has conquered his place in the world. 
The work was put before the worker, and it is 
the work which has made the worker strong, suc- 
cessful — what men call fortunate, what God calls 
heroic. 

What men call fortunate ! Yes, what God sees 
as simple, conscientious, and single-hearted devo- 
tion to duty, with the power to grasp and use op- 
portunity, and turn every hour to account. That 
is God's heroism. 

If you have ever observed the sort of education 
which is given to princes of the blood royal, you 
have seen that from an early age these young peo- 
ple are obliged to study strenuously and to be- 
come familiar with all departments of science, with 
the arts, with literature, and with several foreign 
languages. They are drilled in those exercises 
which develop a fine physique. They are re- 
quired to be diligent, and their days are filled Avith 

2 *7 



Life on High Levels 

severe toil, both intellectual and manual. Their 
place in the world cannot be acceptably taken and 
creditably occupied unless their preparation for it 
is earnest and serious. 

We, too, though not written in the earthly book 
of royalty, are sons and daughters of the King, 
and need a training befitting our rank. For, 
though it doth not yet appear what we shall be, 
yet, beloved, now are we the sons of God. Our 
place will be the one our Father has given us, 
and in that he calls us every one to be faithful 
and true. 

" Wherever in the world I am, 

In ■whatsoe'er estate, 
I have a fellowship with hearts. 

To keep and cultivate; 
And a work of lowly love to do 

For the Lord on whom I wait. 

I ask thee for the daily strength, 

To none that ask denied, 
A mind to blend with outward life 

While keeping at thy side ; 
Content to fill a little space. 

If thou be glorified." 

18 



Choosing an Avocation 



Choosing an Avocation 



CHAPTER II. 
Choosing an Avocation. 

PEW decisions are so important or have so 
* many consequences depending on their issue 
as the choice of an avocation. In the days of our 
grandmothers, girls did not trouble their minds 
very much about their future callings. Boys 
were, of course, expected to go into a trade, a 
business, or a profession, and were trained ac- 
cordingly, but their sisters were supposed to be 
growing up simply for domestic life, so that there 
was no necessity for them to think about a career. 
A little music, a little French, a little botany ; it is 
curious to remember the persistent recurrence of 
that word little in the story of girlish training 
two generations ago. 

Parents took it for granted that their daughters 
would marry and leave them, while their sons 
would go out into the world and become bread- 
winners, wage-earners, and men of affairs. To- 
day, an avocation imperiously beckons both sexes, 
and sensible young women are as eager as their 
cousins and brothers to enter on some active form 
of service. 

21 



Life on High Levels 

Equally with young men, young women pa- 
tiently accept the apprenticeship which an avo- 
cation implies. This is the period of the special- 
ist, and while a broad foundation must needs be 
laid, and the common and higher schools give a 
good deal of general culture, yet the person Avho 
wishes to succeed must determine on some 
particular course and become proficient in that. 
The professions specialize different departments, 
so that in law, or in medicine, or in journalism, 
one man no longer undertakes every branch ; he 
turns his attention rather to the special branch 
in which he may become skilled, useful, and by 
and by famous. When we want advice we seek 
a specialist and pay him for the help he gives us — 
help we could not obtain from the all-round prac- 
titioner who, in devoting himself to every branch, 
had not thoroughly mastered in its minute de- 
tails the single one which the specialist had 
studied. 

I was a visitor the other afternoon to three 
studios. One belongs to a man famous for his 
portraiture of men and women. On his walls and 
easels are pictures of beautiful girls and stately 
men, pictures so life-like that they all but speak 
to you. The man is not young, and the conse- 
cration of many years has given his brush its 
magic, made his flesh tints so fine, showed him 
how to catch the subtle expression of lip and chin 



Choosing an Avocation 

and eye, to pose his sitters to advantage, and paint 
the bust and noblest phase of every character. 

' ' Did you decide to be a painter in your boy- 
hood ?" I asked. 

' ' It was not so much I that chose painting, as 
painting that chose me," was the answer. "I 
felt a call from God to take up this line, and I 
followed on and obeyed, though the traditions of 
my family were opposed to it, and I sacrificed 
business prospects to sit down before my easel." 

I left this room and went to another, where a 
woman, gracious and charming, spends her days 
in the lovely art of flower-painting. She paints 
only flowers, and her violets, carnations, and roses, 
her pansies, clover blooms, and orchids, look so 
natural that they might deceive the bees. To 
sit down before her violets made me feel the woods 
of spring about me on a winter's day with sweet, 
shy fragrance wafting itself on every zephyr, and 
far up in the tree tops, falling now and then a 
silver challenge to the silence, the flute note of a 
robin, with his nest close hidden among the 
leaves. 

" How came you to paint violets, dear lady ? " 
I asked. 

There was a sudden lighting up of the quiet 
face ; she smiled wistfully. 

"I had to," she said, gently. "The violets 
caught me and held me fast in their net. I can do 

?3 



Life on High Levels 

nothing else, but I can show people violets when 
they are too busy to seek them in their haunts." 

I turned my back on the lovely, sunny 
studio with the quiet woman and the wealth 
of flowers and stepped into an elevator 
outside the little bowery room; up, up, up 
it carried me smoothly and swiftly, and pres- 
ently I was in another bit of a den, with dra- 
peries and vases and beautiful bric-a-brac, and 
here the presiding genius was a bright-looking 
Western girl who came to New York some years 
ago without a penny in her pocket, and who now 
is on the high road to fame and fortune. Her 
line of work is the painting of cabinet pictures, a 
flask, a table, a bunch of grapes, an open book, a 
curtain, a carving, a chair, a shelf, but whatever 
she does is exquisitely finished, and shows that 
the artist's heart as well as her hand has gone 
into every stroke of her brush. 

" I tried several things, 1 ' she explained, mod- 
estly, ' ' but this was the only thing I could really 
do, so I settled down upon this, and my aim is 
just to paint better and better every single day." 

I met a man one day last week to whom golden 
doors of opportunity had swung open from his 
birth. He might have been a man of science, a 
lawyer, a surgeon, anything he chose, but his 
preference was to follow on in the path where his 
forefathers had achieved wealth, and be an honest 

24 



Choosing an Avocation 

shipping merchant. So he had begun on the lad- 
der's lowest round, and was toiling slowly up, as 
anyone else in the great house might do. ' ' I 
chose this occupation because it was the one for 
which I felt I had the most fitness," he said. 

"I shall never be brilliant; but I can plod 
steadily on in the beaten track and do my day's 
work with any other." 

To an eminent professional man, a man who 
has arrived at distinction and whose name is 
everywhere mentioned with honor and held in 
high esteem, I said : 

" How did you happen to become a doctor ? " 

"I did not happen," he replied. "I might 
have been as successful in some other department. 
Attention, pluck, singleness of aim, hard, down- 
right work, tend to success. I might have been a 
teacher, for I have a knack at instruction. I 
know I could have been a successful traveling 
salesman, who could convince reluctant buyers 
that they must purchase my wares, but I saw 
that my town needed a good doctor, and I gave 
my whole mind to that. I always liked to nurse 
ailing chickens and pet dogs when I was a boy, 
and I have never regretted my choice. I meant 
when I went into the hospital to be the best doc- 
tor in the State before I got through with it." 

" And you were not far out of your reckoning," 
was the natural reply. 

^5 



Life on High Levels 

Avoid, dear young people, the foolish fallacy 
that one kind of work is, per se, more noble and 
dignified than another. Any work is noble if God 
calls one to it, and in it one does one's very best. 

Let the preliminary training be thorough. 
Then when the hour comes for choice, choose 
Avisely, take friends into your counsels, and weigh 
the pros and cons. Once having chosen, adhere 
to your intention. 

Chauncey Depew, addressing a graduating 
class in college, said, "Young men, I give you 
three magical words : Stick, Dig, Save." 

In entering on life's avocation I cannot improve 
on these. But I add a fourth word, Pray. And 
this is, perhaps, the most practical word of the 
four. The act of prayer, if the prayer be one of 
faith, brings the pledged assistance of heaven to 
us in our hour of need. The wisdom of God, the 
tenderness, the instant help, are promised to us 
when our Lord says, " Ask, and it shall be given 
you; seek, and ye shall find." 

That is a beautiful old story of the prophet and 
his servant at the gate of Samaria, the prophet 
serene, the servant afraid. 

"Lord, open his eyes that he may see!" cried 
the man of God. 

And lo! the mountain was radiant with an 
angel host, the chariots and horses of fire, sent 
from the skies for the help of Elisha ! 
26 



Of Earning and Spending 



Of Earning and Spending 



T 



CHAPTER III. 

Of Earning; and Spending-. 

PIE ordinary person likes to spend money. 
It is the extraordinary person who prefers 
to save it. Indeed, the one who likes to hoard 
money for the mere pleasure of the hoarding has 
been labeled by the common consent of all ages 
as a miser, a sordid and miserable wretch, whose 
ideals are low, and whose scale of living is lower 
still. To most of us there is real enjoyment and 
satisfaction in going to a shop, looking at the 
myriad of pretty and charming articles displayed, 
choosing something we have secretly longed for, 
or else have just fallen in love with, and bringing 
it home in triumph. With what joy and glad- 
ness we hang the coveted picture on the wall ; 
how we revel in the satin smoothness of the lovely 
bit of china ; how our eyes rest in sheer delight 
on the dim softness of color which makes the 
Eastern rug or portiere a dream of melting hues 
and tender tints ; how we finger with an exquisite 
contentment the delicate daintiness of cobweb 
laces and shining linens; and, if we are book 
lovers, with what an air of exultant possession 
29 



Life on High Levels 

we arrange our latest purchase on our already 
laden shelves ! Sometimes, in the latter case, 
we indulge our joy for awhile in secret, knowing 
that our families will shake their heads at our ex- 
travagance. 

I heard a sweet, simple-hearted woman say, not 
long ago, that one of her greatest pleasures when 
she came from her country home to the city was 
found in making the round of the great shops, 
seeing the new things, and buying what she 
wanted. "I would rather do this," she naively 
confessed, ' ' than go to art galleries and water 
color exhibitions, or see tall buildings, or be taken 
for drives in the park." 

I knew precisely what she meant. What were 
tall, ten-storied business warehouses to one whose 
outlook at home was on the eternal hills up- 
climbing until they lost themselves in the blue 
distance of the sky and bathed their tops in the 
clouds ? Why should she care for a park when 
her daily walks and drives took her through 
miles of green forest paths, over which the elms 
and chestnuts arched their dusky boughs ? But 
she had the womanly liking for trade, and for 
bargaining in the market place for silken stuffs 
and carven fans and pretty bric-a-brac. 

"Womanly ? It is hardly that. Men, too, have 
their temptations to acquire this and the other 
attractive article which is displayed on the mer- 

30 



Of Earning and Spending 

chant's counter. Money burns a hole in many a 
masculine pocket until it is spent for something 
the owner longs to have, yet might do without. 

For spending, mind you, is not extravagant, 
or in any way open to criticism, until it ceases to 
be held in the right relation to earning. As 
there is no virtue, per se, in mere saving for sav- 
ing's sake there is no harm in spending lavishly 
whatever one can honestly afford. Thrift may 
be a noble or a niggardly quality, as it stands 
connected with integrity, with duty, with the 
clearly defined limitations of income and outgo. 

The ever-to-be-affectionately-remembered Mr. 
Micawber remarked on a certain occasion, in 
substance, that twenty pounds being yours, you 
might, with comfort, spend nineteen pounds 
nineteen shillings and sixpence. Not a penny 
more unless you would be wretched. And he 
was right. There is a thrift of good spending as 
there is a diligent and praiseworthy system of 
good earning. Hand in hand they must go, the 
earning and the spending, with one or two ob- 
vious reservations and rules. 

The terms poor and rich are relative, not arbi- 
trary, in their significance. I know comfortably 
opulent poor people, and I have met unhappy 
paupers who had bank accounts. The secret of 
being rich on a small income is to spend less than 
you earn. The instant your ordinary expenditure 

31 



Life on High Levels 

goes beyond the mark of your ordinary earning 
you find yourself inconveniently poor. Even if 
you spend all you earn and have nothing over, 
simply coming out even at the end of the week or 
the month, you will still be poor and anxious, for 
this is a scheme of living which leaves no margin 
for incidental expenses, for illness, accident, or the 
thousand-and-one things not to be foreseen or 
anticipated, which may cause a sudden drain on 
one's purse. One should have a margin for 
emergencies if possible to compass it by provi- 
dent forethought. 

Spend less than you earn, and time will deal 
with you lightly. Spend more than you earn, 
and old age will march upon you with the relent- 
less stride of an armed man. 

A young woman in New York called one 
morning on a friend, to find the latter sitting in 
her pleasant morning room engaged in renovat- 
ing an old gown. The first greetings were hardly 
over, when Number One said, with tears in her 
voice : 

" I've come to say good-bye. Jack and I are 
mortgaged up to our eyelids ; we're dreadfully in 
debt ; we can't begin to pay the butcher and the 
grocer, and we've got to go and bury ourselves on 
a farm Jack's uncle owns on the South Shore." 

"Why, Lucy!" exclaimed Number Two, "I 
don't understand it. Your husband's salary is 

32 



Of Earning and Spending 

four times as large as Ned's, and you haven't had 
to buy any clothes since you've been married. " 

" I can't explain it," was the answer. " But I 
have had to buy clothes, dear. Of course I can 
never appear twice in the same gown, and all the 
people Jack and I associate with have quantities 
of money. Then, we have three maids and a 
boy in buttons; one can hardly do with less." 

' ' I have one maid and I make over my old 
gowns," said the hostess, " and Ned and I never 
go into debt, not for a paper of pins. As for 
our friends, we do not try to live as the affluent 
do, and nobody seems to measure us by the style 
of our home, nor the figure we cut in society. 
I have worn the same dinner gown for three 
winters." 

"The fact is," said the guest, breaking down 
and crying outright, "that you and Ned have 
common sense and good management, and Jack 
and I have acted like a pair of silly children." 

As indeed they had, and silly was hardly the 
word. Debt incurred when there is no prospect 
of paying it is downright dishonesty, only one 
step removed from theft. At the best it hangs a 
millstone round the debtor's neck ; at the worst 
it is little short of a crime. 

The money earned by one's hard toil does not 
by any means always fairly represent one's value. 
Competition is so fierce in our crowded commer- 



Life on High Levels 

cial centers that a really brilliant man may not 
rise rapidly, and may long have to be contented 
with a low salary. Besides, in the long run the 
plodder often excels the brilliant man in the busi- 
ness race. But the faithful and diligent clerk, 
bookkeeper, or salesman, the man of absolutely 
unimpeachable integrity, is hi the line where 
promotion is possible, and in the long run he 
will reach his proper level. Circumstances favor 
the man of ability and integrity. 

Of two young people who wait on you in a shop, 
what a difference one often finds hi the interest 
each takes. I stepped into a large drygoods es- 
tablishment the other day, intent on the purchase 
of an article of dress of which I -was in need, and 
which I was resolved to buy that afternoon. It 
was a rather expensive thing and could not be 
selected without much care on my part and atten- 
tion on that of the saleswoman who had the goods 
hi her charge. But in vain were my efforts to 
convince that particular young woman that it was 
worth her while to display the garments on her 
shelves. Neither question, nor suggestion, nor 
amiable urgency on my side could prevail on her 
to show her goods with the slightest alacrity ; she 
was passive, inert, indifferent, so far as her share 
of the transaction was concerned, turning her 
back on me with an air of great relief when I 
announced that nothing she had suited me, and 

34 



Of Earning and Spending 

immediately resuming with zest the conversation 
with a neighbor behind the counter which my 
inopportune entrance had interrupted. I went to 
the shop next door, found there a competent and 
obliging clerk, selected what I was in search of 
without the least difficulty, and afterward bought 
several other things which the young lady, in a 
most engaging manner, brought forth for my in- 
spection. 

It would not surprise me, some months hence, 
to learn that the second saleswoman has become 
head of her department. She has the qualities of 
charm and concentration of interest in the affair 
on hand which make an employee very valuable. 
Even though one may not always feel thoroughly 
interested, yet the obligation on one who accepts 
wages is to earn them ; not with a half-hearted 
and insincere attention, but with the whole 
power of one's being. 

To spend less than one makes is manifest wis- 
dom. In a thoughtful article on this subject the 
Rev. Dr. David J. Burred says: 

' ' The beginning of a fortune is made when a 
man learns to respect the day of small things. 
The largest of exchequers is reducible to pence. 
'Little and often fills the safe.' Wasting the 
littles fills the workhouse. 

" Cicero said, ' Not to have a mania for buying 
is to possess a revenue.' 

35 



Life on High Levels 

"Cato the elder, whose robe of state cost him 
only a hundred pence, said, ' A superfluous thing 
is never cheap.' 

" St. Paul put it still more admirably when he 
said, ' I know both how to abound, and to suffer 
want.' 

"We never realize what we can do without 
until we have thought thrice. Denying our- 
selves the luxuries which palm themselves off on 
the unthinking as indispensable, will keep the 
margin right on our balance sheet, and nothing 
else will." 



The Higher Education 



The Higher Education 



W 



CHAPTER IV. 
The Higher Education. 

E hear a great deal about m< >dern scholar- 
ship and the higher education, and some- 
times there seems to be an impression in the air 
that there never was any learning worth speak- 
ing about before our own day. Now, there can- 
not be a greater mistake than to suppose that 
facilities and appliances and extensive and ex- 
tended opportunities have made us giants, whereas 
those who went before us were pygmies. A glance 
at our libraries shows us volumes filled with re- 
search ; the masters of literature and art still color 
our thought and demand our attention. Still 
are there old men and gray -haired women who 
are well and liberally educated, though the 
methods of their youth were somewhat different 
from those which their grandchildren follow. 

The recollection that not the amount one studies, 
but the degree of assimilation, is the important 
thing would be timely for those of us who do not 
recognize the fact that while colleges largely 
mold and influence men and strongly impress 
their traditional advantages on their graduates, 

39 



Life on High Levels 

and on those whom their graduates meet, still 
there may be culture quite outside of college walls. 

To the person who must early leave school, and 
abandon the pursuit of what is styled the higher 
education, let me say that all life is an academy, 
and that on every hand there are gates ajar, await- 
ing only the resolute touch of a man in earnest to 
push them open. One determined upon being 
well educated need never despair of realizing his 
ideal 

For one thing, books are the best possible as 
well as the most friendly teachers. You may 
have very little time for a book, but use the little, 
the five or ten minutes in the morning, the spell 
borrowed from your luncheon hour, read with 
intention, and attack a real book, a genuine vol- 
ume of essays or poetry or history, and at the 
end of three months you will be surprised at the 
progress you have made. I must caution the en- 
thusiastic student against the prodigal use of 
sight in poring over fine print in trains or boats, 
or where the light is imperfect; but one's own 
common sense dictates care of those useful and 
loyal servitors, the eyes. Books are to be had in 
marvelously cheap editions, well printed in clear 
type on good paper ; and bought one by one they 
are a wise investment for one's home, and one's 
life, or borrowed from a library, they are equally 
valuable friends. The person who reads daily, 

40 



The Higher Education 

according to a prearranged plan, and not merely 
for amusement, cannot fail to become cultivated. 
And while there are among our chief literary 
favorites men who never saw the inside of col- 
lege walls, but whose books are the lingering de- 
light of thousands, we need not fear that we will 
be ill-educated even if our college must be the 
counting room or the shop. 

Companionship with well-bred and thoughtful 
men and women is stimulating and educational, 
and uplifts us from the dreary level of the com- 
monplace and rouses our finer ambitions. Perhaps 
we have gradually suffered ourselves to fall into 
a rut. It may be that we have imperceptibly 
adopted low opinions, as, for example, that money, 
per se, is the most desirable thing in the world, 
and that a great fortune is to be envied in its pos- 
sessor and toiled for as a worthy end. 

Too many of us are like Bunyan's man with 
the muck-rake, who could not lift his eyes from 
the ground, and who Avas forever drawing up 
sticks and straws and rubbish with his poor rake. 

The society of bright, breezy, well-informed 
people, whose outlook is beyond the mere con- 
fines of to-day, who talk about lai'ge concerns, 
and care what happens outside their immediate 
front doors, is a blessed education for those who 
are admitted to it. 

" Where did that young woman get her per- 

41 



Life on High Levels 

fectly beautiful manner ? " I heard some one in- 
quire. 

"Why, don't you know?" was the answer. 

"She traveled with that lovely Mrs. , and 

to be under the same roof with her was itself an 
education. 1 ' 

Travel is one of the most broadening influences 
which ever touches human experience. It is not 
in every one's power to enjoy this, for some have 
not that free foot which can roam where it will, 
others lack the requisite funds, and others axe 
bound by home duties. Here again books step 
in to aid us, and we may be accomplished pil- 
grims, even if we never stray beyond the fireside. 
With Nansen we may go to the fields and floes 
of the "Farthest North.;" with Williams and 
Griffis and Miss Bird and Adele Fields, familiar- 
ize ourselves with China and Japan ; with heroic 
missionaries and valiant explorers for our guides, 
we may penetrate unknown regions, and eat 
strange viands, and learn the ways of odd and 
mysterious people. The next best thing to going 
to another land in person is being conducted 
thither by one who has seen and noted what he 
saw and written it down for our learning. 

I cannot too highly recommend to the young 
friend who seeks the best culture a habit of steady 
and persistent churchgoing, not here and there 
to listen to gifted divines and splendid orators, 

42 



The Higher Education 

but to one's own sanctuary, to sit under, as the 
Scottish phrase has it, one's own pastor, week in 
and week out. The pulpit deals with elevated 
themes, and the minister's office is to instruct. 
The hearer who goes to church, not to be critical, 
not to find fault, not to be inattentive, but to 
give a well-bred attention, and to maintain a re- 
ceptive attitude of mind while in the pew, Avill 
insensibly absorb a sort of culture which is one 
of the best gifts the Church bestows upon her 
worshiping throngs. One does not go to church 
primarily for intellectual enrichment, but this 
follows in the wake of other and more spiritual 
privileges. 

The wave of interest in the Scottish peasantry 
which has swept over us since Crockett and 
Maclaren and Stevenson have conferred upon us 
intimacy with those simple Scottish homes where 
God is held in reverence, and the Bible influences 
the daily life, has shown us how piety and culture 
may go hand in hand. Read " Margaret Ogilvy " 
and you will see in that noble revelation of what 
maternal love and filial loyalty may be at their 
best, how true and austere and refined a culture 
may coexist with somewhat restricted oppor- 
tunities and a narrow and heavily-handicapped 
existence. 

By all means get the best education you can, 
the fullest, the highest, the widest. Go to college, 

43 



Life on High Levels 

if that be possible. Do not make the blunder of 
underrating the smaller college. It may do, it of- 
ten does, more for the individual student than the 
larger university can. It is what you carry to the 
college quite as much as what the college conveys 
to you which makes the splendid manhood, the 
gracious womanhood. But if college doors are 
closed in your face, go bravely and confidently 
forward. You may still obtain the highest edu- 
cation if you are in dead earnest, have pluck 
and perseverance and belief in yourself and in 
God. There is culture where there is not college, 
and more depends on the student than on the 
professors. For some fine souls the world proves 
the best alma mater. 

44 



Short Views 



Short Views 



"I 



CHAPTER V. 

Short Views. 

MET Arthur Lee just now on the street," 
said my friend, dropping in to have a bit 
of chat on her way home from market. ' ' And 
Arthur looks blue enough to blot all the bright- 
ness of the day for his mother and sisters, which 
is a pity, besides his having to carry around that 
burden of gloom himself. W hat ails the lad ? Isn't 
he well, or is he overworking ? I haven't been able 
to forget his downcast face since I left him, and his 
very step was heavy, like that of an old man." 

"Arthur Lee," I answered, "has reached one 
of those hard places where there is nothing to do 
but to take each day as it comes, serenely sure 
that sufficient to itself will be its own evil. lie 
is not very strong, he has more to do than is com- 
fortable, and he sees little prospect of advance- 
ment. Life for the Lees has been a rough tussle 
with poverty, and Arthur has set his heart on 
achieving wealth. But the vision recedes as he 
advances. There is still the small salary, there 
is the inherited temperament which shackles the 
soul till courage wanes and cheerfulness vanishes, 
and there is a wretched habit of forecasting the 

47 



Life on High Levels 

years to come, instead of living one single day at 
a time. 

"George Macdonald says somewhere, pithily, 
' No man ever sank under the burden of to-day.' 
We can bear the trouble or the care which be- 
longs to the hour. It is when Ave look ahead and 
see nothing beyond us but the same dreary pros- 
pect which now lies in shadow before us, that our 
strength is sapped." 

"I wonder," said my friend, "that Arthur is 
so weak." 

" All worry is weakness and tends to despair," 
I answered. "The difficulty is that the boy is 
trying to be brave and failing in the effort, and 
growing faint-hearted and sad, because he scorns 
to seek the help which might be his for the ask- 
ing. There is One who would give him the 
power to keep a stout heart and a stiff resolution 
and a sunny smile, if only Arthur would take the 
comfort which is promised to the man who prays 
and believes." 

"Well," said the lady, rising to go, "I shall 
pray for Arthur every step of the way home, and 
I will send the carriage around for his sister this 
afternoon and take her for a drive. Perhaps 
they don't keep the home atmosphere sweet and 
cheery. Men are like children. They need a lot 
of petting, and they respond to the tonic of gay- 
ety in those they love." 

48 



Short Views 

After my friend had gone, I thought, as often 
before, of the whole subject which is embodied in 
Sydney Smith's well-known advice to take short 
views. I thought of a picture I had seen of a 
sturdy shepherd in the Highlands, tramping up 
a steep hill with the mist in his face. I thought 
of Robert Bruce and his famous spider ; of poor 
Mr. Despondency and his daughter, Miss Much- 
Afraid ; of the pilgrims shut up in the dungeon, 
in the clutch of Giant Despair. I arrived at 
this conclusion, which I pass on to you, that 
there is nothing more foolish and on the whole 
more unprofitable than the giving up to present 
ills, and acting as if they were to be the abiding 
conditions. 

A judicious physician once said to me, "Make 
up your mind that it is the nature of disease to 
get well." Of course people die, but then nature 
has been overpowered. We must always look for 
a good fighting chance and anticipate health, or 
else we shall neither be good nurses nor good doc- 
tors. 

Look back 'across a few years. What long 
sunny intervals of pleasure, of family prosperity, 
of comparative freedom from any great trouble. 
The history of most of us is like the history of a 
tranquil nation, like a full-bosomed river sweep- 
ing smoothly to the sea. Only now and then 
come wars and rumors of war. Only occasion - 

4 49 



Life on High Levels 

ally arrives the great calamity. The year when 
some one dear to ns almost went home, but was 
spared a little longer, stands out in bold relief. 
The autumn when the house burned down is 
marked in memory as by a tall shaft. But in 
no case of shock or sudden disaster could any- 
thing have been prevented by our sitting up at 
night to worry. 

Even when we are aware that some untoward 
event might have been averted by our better 
planning or our different action in given circum- 
stances, we have no right to be worried. There 
is a kind of worrying habit which looks back- 
ward and grieves over the past, just as there is a 
twin habit which paralyzes the will and destroys 
our efficiency in work by foreboding evil in the 
future. 

Because in a day of my days to come. 

There waiteth a grief to be, 
Shall my heart grow faint, or my lips be dumb. 

In this day which is bright for me ? 
Because of a subtle sense of pain, 

Like a pulse-beat threaded through 
The bliss of the day, shall my soul refrain 

Prom delight in the good and true ? 

Blessed in every age is the tender and gracious 
assurance of the Master, that "your Father know- 
eth what things ye have need of before ye ask 
him." Forever and forever our marching order 
is the same which was once given to Moses, 
" Speak unto the children of Israel that they 

50 



Short Views 

go forward." And sweet as a waft from the 
bright hills of heaven comes the sentence which 
the disciples heard in the long ago : "Consider 
the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil 
not, neither do they spin : and yet I say unto you, 
That Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed 
like one of these." 

Take short views, my friends. Go blithely on 
your way, sure that farther cm, perhaps just 
around the next corner, there is waiting to surprise 
you a wonderful bit of good fortune, a day of 
white-robed gladness and bird-song and blessed- 
ness. Take life as it conies, with a cheerful op- 
timism. Do not lose youth prematurely in wear- 
ing and distressful anxiety, but challenge the 
worst temporal anxiety which can meet you with 
a serene philosophy born of faith in an overruling 
Providence, vigilant for your protection and de- 
fense. 

Courage, though the skies are drear, 
In the tampest's depth is cheer. 
Life and love are drawing near, 

Joy shall victor be. 
Somewhere, singing in the snow, 
Happy thoughts flit to and fro. 
Heaven to earth is bending low. 

Soul, be strong and free. 

Si 



The Books we Read 



The Books we Read 



CHAPTER VI. 

The Books we Read. 

I HAVE already touched in passing the culture 
*■ which conies from the books we read, but I 
cannot let the subject go without fuller treatment. 
The world of books is to me as real and actual as 
the world of people I meet day by day, and feAV 
pleasures seem to me quite equal to that of sitting 
beside a window, looking out on a garden, with a 
favorite book in my hand, or if the wintry chill 
be in the air of enjoying a book beside the fire. 
Books are companions that never jar on one's 
mood ; they are patient with one's infirmities ; 
they kindle our enthusiasm ; they stimulate our 
thoughts ; they console us for disappointment, 
and lift us above the low levels of the common- 
place into clearer airs and finer altitudes. Even 
when I have not time to read a book I like it to 
lie near my hand, where I can pass my fingers 
caressingly over its binding, where I can some- 
times, for one brief, happy instant, dip into its 
pages to catch inspiration for the hour. Books 
have a knack of cushioning the hard and jolting 
places on our journey, and I agree with Susan 

55 



Life on High Levels 

Coolidge when she says, that if she were called 
upon to act as a fairy godmother to a newborn 
child she would endow the little one with a sense 
of humor and a love of books, two admirable 
qualifications for a comfortable and easeful life. 
The person who has a quick appreciation of the 
drollery of a situation, who sees the funny side of 
a thing without the need of explanation, has an 
immense advantage over his duller witted brother 
to whom a jest is a conundrum, and to whose 
literal mind laughing is a foolish and trivial exer- 
cise of the muscles, not, as it really is, a relief 
to the brain, and a genuine help when times are 
trying. The Bible tells us that there is a time 
to laugh, and he or she is to be congratulated in 
whom mirth bubbles up as an irresistible spring. 
A thorough and innate liking for books and a 
trained facility in their use go hand in hand. It 
was that splendid old bookman, Dr. Samuel John- 
son, who once remarked in reply to a rather 
ponderous inquirer, " While you are fussing over 
which of two books your boy would better read, 
another boy will have read both." In Dr. 
Johnson's period juvenile literature had not at- 
tained its present dimensions, nor did it offer so 
many snares and pitfalls for the unwary as it 
now does, so that parental vigilance was less es- 
sential than it is to-day. The youthful Macaulay 
was so rapid a reader that he seemed to assimi- 

56 



The Books we Read 

late a book through the pores of his skin, and 
this may have been the sort of railroad pace by 
which Dr. Johnson's typical book-loving boy read 
through two volumes while his friend's father 
was balancing their respective merits. 

Neither slow nor rapid reading is in itself to be 
commended. 

Some of our books give us a parlor-car seat, 
and we luxuriously turn leaf after leaf and are 
whirled along without stopping in one breathless 
excursion from start to finish. The home-stretch 
of the concluding pages is by a flying express, 
and we are exhausted by the tremendous speed, 
so that it is difficult again to return to our ordi- 
nary occupation. This is true of many novels, 
especially of the lighter ones which merely tell 
a story, sketch events and fashions of the hour, 
and require no analytical thought of the reader. 
Not all the novelists, however, can be read in 
such thoughtless haste, and, as a rule, the better 
worth while the story, the more it requires of the 
reader in the way of severe attention. Victor 
Hugo's Les Miserables, George Eliot's Middle- 
march, Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Dickens's 
Tale of Two Cities, Meredith's Harry Rich- 
mond, Eber's Uarda, Scott's Ivan hoe, or any 
other intensely dramatic or deeply philosophic 
novel or romance, demands thoughtful attention 
and must receive it, to yield up its stores of 

57 



Life on High Levels 

wealth. In a less degi'ee this is true of the charm- 
ing Scotch school which has lately had a new 
vogue in fiction. A good preparation for the en- 
joyment of the latter masterpieces is a course of 
Sir Walter Scott, whose Waverly novels, con- 
sidered slow and tiresome by so many young 
people, once thrilled the world, and still com- 
mands the admiration of all lovers of genuine 
literature. 

Having made the acquaintance of The Heart 
of Midlothian, of Kenihvorth, and of Tales of 
a Grandfather, you are ready to come under the 
wizard spell of Stevenson, to follow with Crock- 
ett the hair-breadth adventures of the splendid 
Men of the Moss -Hags, to let Barrie show 
you The Little Minister and A Window in 
Thrums, and to dream over the pages of Senti- 
mental Tommy. You will be hardly put to it to 
say whether Barrie or Maclaren is your favorite, 
when you lose your heart to Margaret Howe and 
to brave William Maclure in .Beside the Bonnie 
Brier Bush. All these novels of Scottish life, be 
they in lowland or highland, by wild purple 
moor or singing burn, are wholesome, pure, and 
clean as the wind that sweeps the mountain peak, 
and their reading will make you long to be 
worthier to bear your part in the struggle and 
the strife of the market and the battlefield. 

Read biography. I have only lately made a 

58 



The Books we Read 

niche among my most precious books for Marga- 
ret Ogilvy, Barrie's tribute to the dearest of 
mothers; but on the shelf to which I oftenest 
turn are Two Noble Lives and The Gurneys of 
JEarlham and The Life of James Hannington, 
and many another record of a fellow being who 
went before and blazed the path for me. 

The lives of missionaries, either to the home or 
the foreign field, are stimulating to piety, and af- 
ford entertaining reading apart from the heroism 
which they record. The Church and the world 
owe to these standard bearers of the cross a debt 
which can never be paid, which can never be so 
much as estimated. Missionaries are the pio- 
neers of civilization. They precede other agents 
in opening the dark places of the earth to the 
light of the Gospel. They have contributed 
many facts to philology and aided science in 
her discoveries. "They have enriched literature. 
They have elevated woman. They have gone to 
farthest East or remotest West, endured hard- 
ness without murmuring, and in the midst of vio- 
lence and degradation and wickedness they have 
reared the beacon of the Christian home. No 
literary toil has been more strenuous than theirs. 
No soldier under any flag has fought a braver 
fight than theirs under the banner of Jesus. The 
whole world is better because they have not 
counted their lives dear, and in this waning cen- 

59 



Life on High Levels 

tuiy, again and again, has the crown of the 

martyr been set on the brow of the missionary. 

Read their lives, and rise from the perusal of 

every one more than ever consecrated to Him 

who yet 

" Shall reign where'er the sun 
Does his successive journeys run." 

You will find, if you share my taste for the 
essayist, great profit in the thoughtful pages of 
many a terse thinker whose words are as apples 
of gold in pictures of silver. You cannot omit a 
knowledge of our English poets from Chaucer to 
Tennyson. Nor may you pass by the historian, 
since the course of God's providence in this earth, 
which is our home and our training school, is 
clearly outlined and marked in the stories of 
Nineveh and Babylon, of Greece and Rome, of 
the Middle Ages, of the French Revolution, of 
English history along its triumphant line from 
Saxon and Norman and Dane to Victoria's long 
career. You must read the story of South Africa, 
of modern India, of our own America, aiding 
your reading always by the torch of biography, 
as, for instance, when you study our own Revolu- 
tion read the Life of Washington by Woodrow 
Wilson, and when you are reviewing our civil war 
procure the Memoirs of Grant and other great 
soldiers, and of Lee and Jackson, these gallant 
foes facing each other stubbornly, but typically 

60 



The Books we Read 

American all through. Read Lincoln's life, and 
with it begin a course of our later history. 

Few of us can own or accumulate large collec- 
tions of books, and the best attainable school text- 
book on any subject is a valuable addition to our 
little stock of reference works. A dictionary, an 
encyclopedia, and a few well-chosen school or 
college text-books, form the nucleus of an excel- 
lent working library for the busy man or woman. 

I have not yet mentioned the Bible, because 
that is a book by itself. The soul cannot be fed 
on the finest of the wheat elsewhere than in the 
book which holy men of God wrote in the old 
time, under the dictation and inspiration of the 
Spirit, for God's people of every age until the 
end of the world. Here one walks hand in hand 
with the saints and confessors of every period. 
Here one finds angels walking and talking with 
men. Here is wisdom for the inexperienced, 
strength for the tempted, love for all mankind. In 
the Old Testament our Saviour is foreshadowed ; 
in the New Testament He is incarnated. Our 
Bible reading should be regular, should be hal- 
lowed by prayer, should lead us onward through 
the years till our probation is over, and we reach 
the blissful time when the day shall break and 
the shadows flee away. 

61 



The Letters we Write and Receive 



The Letters we Write and Receive 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Letters we Write and Receive. 

f~\ NE sweet spring night, as the stars came out 
^-^ in the deep and distant sky, I stood in the 
dusky gloom of a half -lighted Southern post office 
waiting my turn to inquire for letters. The town 
was a straggling, oddly built place, where tumble- 
down houses stood well back from the white 
sandy road half buried in a riot of roses, and in- 
stead of Northern elms and oaks there were feath- 
ery palms and banana and pineapple bushes, while 
orange and lemon trees perfumed the air. Pines 
were there, too, slender and straight, and the at- 
mosphere was languid with the warmth of the 
tropics. 

There were many pilgrims stopping for pleasure 
or in search of health in the little out-of-the-way 
place, and always after supper everybody went 
to the post office and stood patient and hopeful 
while unseen hands sorted the mail. How buoy- 
ant and blithe we were when we bore our letters 
away; how sadly dragged the steps of disap- 
pointed ones for whom there was no mail and 
who had to wait twenty-four mortal hours more 

5 6 5 



Life on High Levels 

for another opportunity to hear from the dear 
ones at home. That experience impressed me, 
common as it was, with the debt we owe to our 
swift mail service, and with the great value of an 
ordinary letter. 

What is a letter anyway ? It is your hand with 
your heart in it reaching across the world to clasp 
that of a dearly beloved one, and give cheer and 
the sense of kinship or true love. It is a dagger 
with poison on its edge stabbing you in the dark. 
It is a menace or a song, a blessing or a curse, a 
messenger from heaven or a dart of the adver- 
sary. A letter is a thing which has an imperish- 
able vitality all its own. Nothing but fire can be 
relied on to destroy it ; torn in bits the scattered 
fragments may be collected and reunited, soaked 
in the floods it may be rescued and dried. A yel- 
low letter, locked in a secret drawer for a hun- 
dred years, has taken away the character for 
goodness which a man bore unquestioned to his 
grave. A love letter lying perdue between the 
leaves of a book on a dusty top shelf has brought 
consternation and dismay to one whose whitened 
hair and hollow cheeks have supplanted the bloom 
and brightness of a far-away youth. An angry 
or a malicious letter should never in any stress of 
provocation be written or sent, for it may rise up 
in a day of judgment and confront its author, un- 
til he wishes he had never been born. 

66 



The Letters we Write and Receive 

But, nevertheless, it is a duty to write letters, 
and it is commonly a great joy to receive them. 
You will often hear people say: "I love to get a 
letter. I am not fond of answering a letter." 
Yet anybody who enjoys a social chat with a 
friend or with her family need not find difficulty 
in being a good correspondent, since writing let- 
ters is only talking with a pen point instead of 
viva voce. 

To the child away from home, the son or daugh- 
ter in business or studying some profession, the 
constant home letters bring a whiff of the home 
life. The dingy, narrow hall room in the board- 
ing house, the tiresome details of the drudging 
day fade, and mother is setting the table, father 
is coming in with the brimming pails of milk, 
the little sister is studying her spelling book, the 
neighbor is looking in, the robin sings his vesper 
song, and the lilac at the farmhouse threshold 
was never so fragrant nor so rich with plumy 
sheaves before. 

Perhaps the young man is held back from sin, 
held fast to the right and the best by these simple 
home letters which mother and father take such 
pains to write. Every little simple thing in them 
is music and joy and utter delight to the receiver. 
Just a sheet of paper and an envelope and a two- 
cent stamp, but money cannot pay for it. 

You who are young and away from home 
6/ 



Life on High Levels 

should remember that it is a poor rule which does 
not work both ways. They miss you up there in 
the old place, and there is never a night when 
father bars the door that he does not wish you 
were asleep in your own little room as you used 
to be. Mother looks wistfully down the road 
and fancies she sees you coming homeward, and 
turns back to her ironing board or her mending 
basket with a dull, unsatisfied longing tugging at 
her heart. Your sisters go to the church sociable, 
and people ask when they last heard from you, 
and how you are succeeding, and when you are 
to have your vacation. Any good fortune which 
may fall to your share will delight the whole vil- 
lage, for the countryside takes pride in the lads 
it sends to the city. 

There is a great deal going on in town, and 
your letters, if you take pains with them and 
send them periodically, will keep the homefolk in 
close touch with a larger life than belongs to the 
quiet hamlet which yet thrills in sympathy with 
the municipality, as a ripple on the edge of the 
lake stirs the fathomless depths at its center. 

Let me repeat, that a letter in which you take 
pains will be the one most dearly treasured. In 
few things mundane do we so prize the art which 
conceals art as in epistolary correspondence. The 
letter must be colloquial, but it must not be care- 
less nor slovenly. It must answer questions 

68 



The Letters we Write and Receive 

which have been asked, and it must suggest ques- 
tions which may be answered, yet this will fail 
of grace and be a dry catalogue or a curious in- 
quisition unless the writer do the work with the 
deftness born of skill and practice. The letter 
which is meant for the family will forget nobody 
from the grandfather to Jessica learning to walk. 
The intimate and confidential letter which is in- 
tended for an individual will be couched in another 
style. You know what I mean. 

Some famous men have not thought it beneath 
them to write letters to children — letters which 
remain as models for the letter writers of all time. 
Martin Luther's letters to his little Hans, espe- 
cially the one in which he gives the boy his own 
idea of heaven, John Sterling's letter to an idol- 
ized little son, and Matthew Arnold's letters to 
his children, are specimens of admirable tact and 
loving sincerity from parent to child with the 
pen. 

It is wonderful when you consider how slight 
and fragile a letter is, regarded as a thing, that it 
travels so safely over land and sea, reaching its 
destination with such ease, passing from hand to 
hand with so absolute an immunity from disas- 
ter. Everybody respects that gummed inclosure ; 
it requires no seal except for ornament. Even a 
very imperfect address is puzzled over by experts 
and deciphered and completed by diligent offi- 
69 



Life on High Levels 

cials, and it does not keep the letter away from 
the one to whom it has started on its flight. 

The business letter should be brief, plain, and 
explicit. What you want must there be stated 
in few and aptly chosen words. 

The friendly letter may be as diffuse as you 
please. It may indulge in the language of com- 
pliment. It may overflow with affection expressed 
in sweet phrases and loving words. 

There are two or three rules applicable to all 
correspondence ; pardon me for calling attention 
to them : 

Every letter should be legibly written. At the 
top right-hand corner should be the full post 
office address. If the letter is on business, the 
date should be under the name of the place where 
the letter is written. If the letter be an invitation 
or a note of acknowledgment or a proposal of 
marriage, the date may be written out in full at 
the end of the letter instead of being inserted at 
the beginning. 

Every letter should have the writer's signature 
appended, the whole name, as Charles James 
Fisher, Lillian Rose Williams, Mary Grace 
Hawthorn, Frederick Albert Peal. Write your 
name clearly. I have often received letters which 
were perfectly easy to read till I arrived at the 
signature, and that was almost unintelligible, a 
capital letter, a scrawl, and a flourish, as blind as 

70 



The Letters we Write and Receive 

a pocket. Your name stands for your personality. 
Write it out boldly. 

Only to mothers, sisters, and sweethearts is it 
safe to be Tom and Milly, Jack and Fan. To 
the rest of the world use your whole Christian as 
"well as your surname. 

In addressing anyone, friend, kinsman, or 
stranger, on business of importance or interest to 
yourself and requiring an answer, inclose return 
postage. This must invariably be done. Honesty 
and good breeding alike make it imperative. To 
address an envelope to yourself, stamping it, 
endears you very much to the correspondent 
whose time is absorbingly filled, and to whom 
every pen stroke saved is a boon to be thankful 
for. 

Avoid fancy papers and eccentric styles of sta- 
tionery. Plain white paper, preferably unruled, 
is always good form, and conveys an impression 
of elegance. 

Mail a letter as soon as it is written ; especially 
do this if it is somebody else's letter confided to 
your care to be posted. 

Answer your letters within a reasonable time, 
while your interest in them is fresh and you feel 
the glow of friendliness they have kindled. 

Never write to anyone that which would em- 
barrass or mortify you were it suddenly blazoned 
from the house tops. 

71 



Life on High Levels 

Never write to anyone as an escape valve from 
even a justifiable irritation. 

Never carry on a clandestine correspondence. 
Nothing but harm comes of concealments. 

Indeed the desire for concealment should lead 
one to very serious questioning about the right 
and the wrong involved in the situation, for there 
are few occasions in which we cannot afford to be 
entirely open, plain, and aboveboard. Let us 
shun concealment as beneath our dignity, and 
usually very unworthy in itself. 

At the same time we have a right to our own 
reserves, and our letters are not to be read 
by other people without our consent. Of course 
no honorable person opens or reads the letters of 
another. A man does not read his wife's cor- 
respondence, nor does she open her husband's 
letters. 

We do not open a child's little letter. We leave 
the pleasure and the right to him or her, no mat- 
ter what the child's age. 

In sending a letter by a friend's hand, the rule 
is to leave it unsealed, writing on the envelope, 

" Kindness of ." 

72 



Kinsfolk and Friends 



Kinsfolk and Friends 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Kinsfolk and Friends. 

r "FIIE blood tie binds us very closely, and we 
1 are familiar with the saying that " blood is 
thicker than water, "meaning that families under 
stress of emergency or when attacked by foes 
will stand shoulder to shoulder with a feeling of 
united opposition. 

" Come one, come all, this rock shall fly 
From its firm base as soon as I." 

exclaimed the amazed soldier in the "Lady of 
the Lake," when confronted with the clansmen 
of Roderick Dhu suddenly springing up, silent 
and wrathful, from every clump of trees and 
bunch of bracken and gray bowlder. It required 
more than ordinary self-poise to face that armed 
and threatening array. So, in Tennyson's pic- 
turesque idyls, one is always aware of the dark 
storm-cloud of Lancelot's "kith and kin" hang- 
ing vigilant and resolute on the borders of the 
tournament and fray. And in The Story of 
the Glittering Plain, by William Morris, whose 
prose poetry is as fine as bis verse is splendid, the 
old English feeling of the tribal relation, of the 

75 



Life on High Levels 

house and the hall, with the men and the maidens 
who belong to one family, is very beautifully 
shown. So it is in the earlier chapters of Green's 
Illustrated History of the English People, and, 
for that matter, in a far older piece of literature, 
namely, the story of Abraham and his descend- 
ants in the Book of Genesis. 

It is never safe to take sides in a controversy 
against a man's near relations, or a woman's 
either. He or she, at a given point, will probably 
forget or ignore everything which has led you to 
take up the battle against the very ones whom 
you supposed to be under disfavor, and will stand 
valiantly for the family's defense. When the 
old prophet asked the fair Shunammite what he 
could give her in return for her goodness to him, 
she simply answered, " I dwell with mine own." 
There was no added drop needed, she meant to 
say, in that full cup. 

Blood is thicker than water, and the blood tie 
binds ; yet it is nevertheless true that the very 
candor and unreserve of life among relatives does 
not always tend to the keeping of the peace. We 
speak with almost brutal frankness to the loved 
one so close to us by the kindred bond that our rude 
discourtesy cannot be resented. Over and over, 
through impulsiveness, through haste, through 
the informality which does away with protecting 
hedges of politeness, we ' ' vex our own with look 
7 6 



Kinsfolk and Friends 

and tone, though we love our own the best," and 
we cannot deny that "our careful thought" is 
oftener "for the stranger," "our smiles for the 
sometime guest,'' than for those who are our 
very dearest dear. 

Perfect and unfailing tact and urbanity in daily 
household intercourse would go far toward mak- 
ing earth's desert places blossom like the rose. 

Somebody has observed that we choose our 
friends, and that our relations are chosen for us. 
The element of selection and the qualities of 
congeniality and reciprocity enter into acquaint- 
anceship, ripening it into intimacy, and there 
are souls that are knit together as were those of 
David and Jonathan where there is no faintest 
trace of kindred blood. 

At different periods in our progress, apparently 
accidental circumstances, as propinquity, the 
going to this or the other school, the living in 
town or in country, the staying for awhile at a 
summer boarding place, the crossing of the ocean 
on the same steamer, bring to us those who may 
come to be as parts of ourselves. Life would be 
shorn of much which gives its finest flavor and 
deepest meaning if Ave had no friends, if, hermit- 
like, we drew into a, cloister or a shell and refused 
the sweet influences which are brought to us by 
congenial company. 

One of the best things which our colleges and 

77 



Life on High Levels 

our churches do for us, is in the opportunity they 
afford for beginning and cementing agreeable 
and elevating friendships. 

Going on in our course from youth to maturity, 
and thence to the westering slope, it is wise for 
us often to make additions to our friends, as 
some one has said, to keep our friendships in 
repair, else we may find a deepening loneliness 
as the ranks of our acquaintances thin. One by 
one those who have walked at our side hear the 
call to come up higher, to a diviner service, a less 
clouded day, for it is always true that 

"One army of the living God, 

To tiis command we bow; 
Part of his host have crossed the flood, 

And part are crossing now." 

The thinning ranks warn us more and more 
that we need many to love us and to love. The 
wise virgins replenish the oil of friendship from 
time to time so that the lamps never go out. 

Did you ever stop to think that the least re- 
markable person is so man} r -sided, that his or her 
friendships can reach up and down, through a 
long scale of conditions, and include a number of 
opposites ? We talk to one friend of metaphysics, 
to another of clothes. One touches us on the 
practical issues, the investments, the temporal- 
ities. Another is ethereal and spiritual, and 
when with her we are aAvare of angelic presences 

78 



Kinsfolk and Friends 

near, and almost catch faint echoes of the song 
which never ceases around the crystal sea. 

This friend is incisive, trenchant, true. The 
next is tender, caressing, steadfast. We can do 
without none of them. The motherly or sisterly 
friend, who comes to your relief when the grippe 
has you by the throat and the children have the 
whooping cough, is as much prized as the kindly 
gentlewoman who invites you to breakfast at her 
literary club and then takes you for a treat to a 
concert or a picture gallery. 

The friendships of women for one another are 
so delicately adjusted, so perfect, and so lasting, 
that they seem to be the finest possible flower of 
friendship, its purest attar of rose. 

But as triple steel is the friendship of man for 
man. King David averred that it passed in power 
the love of women. Friendship, less passionate 
than love, may burn with a steadier glow. A 
man is stronger for the comradeship of his 
friend. And, blessed be God, of One it may be 
said, " There is a friend that sticketh closer than 
a brother." 

79 



Of Falling in Love 



Of Falling in Love 



CHAPTER IX. 

Of Falling in Love. 

'"THROUGH the dim and shady vista of bygone 
* years I look back to see a splendid specimen 
of soldierly manhood, to whom, as a tug might 
be attached to a man of war, appertained a silly 
little wax doll of a wife, a Dora Copperfield 
without Dora's amiability, though endowed with 
charms of satin smooth skin, peachy cheek, fluffy 
hair, and starry eyes, with all the superficial 
charms which fit a woman to bring a great 
sturdy man under the sway of " pink and white 
tyranny." The little lady had neither wit nor 
manner ; she was gauche, irritable, absurd, and 
exasperating, and her husband and herself were 
in such marked and painful contrast that the 
first question of everybody was, "How in the 
world did that marriage happen ? " 

It happened because John, twenty-one and 
still at college, met Mary at a party, where she 
was a radiant vision in curls and white tulle, 
and fell in love with her out of hand, and eloped 
with her in three weeks. Unsuited to him in 
birth, in education, in social position, she became 

33 



Life on High Levels 

his wife and the mother of his children, and 
though she did not do for him all that selfish 
Rosamond did for poor Lydgate, the results of 
the marriage were lowering to him and hurtful 
to her. The obvious inference is that falling in 
love is not always enough when the character 
and solemn lasting consequences of marriage are 
concerned. 

But, in another instance, a man whom I knew, 
mine own familiar friend, went one day from 
New York, to Boston. And at a way station 
stepped into the train a smiling schoolgirl. Hebe's 
very self. She had her books in her hand, and 
was apparently going home to spend her Satur- 
day and Sunday. The sweet, modest face, the 
gentle air, had magnetism for the young man — 
his eyes were drawn from his vantage ground in 
the back of the car to that great coil of bronze- 
brown hair, that dainty ear, that head with its 
graceful pose. The train slackened into the sta- 
tion. The young lady alighted, and the young 
gentleman likewise. Ah, what rapture ! She 
was met by her brother, and her brother turned 
out to be an old comrade of Dick's and Dick was 
presented to Susie, and so their romance was be- 
gun under proper auspices, a romance which en- 
sued in a most beautiful and happy and fortunate 
wedded life, which endured the strains and 
stresses of many eventful years. In this case, 

84 



Of Falling in Love 

there proved to be what was lacking in the first, 
a foundation for happiness in congenial tastes, 
excellent principles, a common respect and loyalty 
for and to religious faith, and a rare sympathy 
of nature. The falling in love was a happy thing 
for both the young people. 

There should unquestionably be a mighty wave 
of unselfish love to sweep two life-currents to- 
gether and blend them into one deep stream on 
which the argosies of future weal may float. In 
its ultimate analysis love is supreme unselfishness, 
and in love it is everlastingly true that " he that 
saveth his life shall lose it. " He or she who pauses 
to weigh and to balance, who demands something 
in return, who keeps back a portion of the price, 
is nut wholly surrendered to the glory of love ; 
for love seeketh never her own, but always that 
of the other. Love envieth not, is not puffed up. 
Love is long-suffering. Love carries the torch of 
a pure flame kindled at the throne of God. 

Two young people, meeting in a casual way or. 
through the kind offices of friends, are at first in- 
terested the one in the other. Thought reverts 
to little incidents and expressions which arrested 
attention. They seem laden with intense signifi- 
cance to the two concerned, though to an outsider 
they would be less than nothing and vanity. 

Being interested is only the first shy, tentative 
step — it is not a headlong plunge, where the judg- 

35 



Life on High Levels 

ment and the will are alike submerged. Before 
either is irretrievably in love, it is well for the 
man on his and the woman on her part to con- 
sider two or three propositions : 

First, is there any manifest unsuitability in the 
relative training of the two, anything in the fam- 
ily peculiarities of either, which would probably 
make them, if the acquaintance became more in- 
timate, useful or the reverse in the best develop- 
ment of that which made each what he or she 
really was ? 

Second, is this friend a believer in the religion 
which is sacred to me ? A Christian man should 
not marry a girl who is either hostile to religion, 
indifferent to it, or a professed agnostic. A girl 
should not suffer her love to rest with a man 
whose sympathies and opinions, or whose 
avowed beliefs or disbeliefs, are antagonistic to 
the religion of the cross. 

Third — and this appeals oftener to girls than to 
men, almost never to men and frequently to girls — 
never fall in love with a dissolute or depraved 
person with the idea that love will prove his re- 
demption. Earthly love is not strong enough to 
do this — work so vast that only Christ's almighty 
power is sufficient to the task. The woman who 
loves and marries a weak and erring man, think- 
ing to reform him and keep him in safe and steady 
courses, is bound to be woefully disappointed. 

86 



Of Falling in Love 

The foolishly sentimental girl, in love with her 
own ideal, and not with the man who seems to 
her bold and generous, daring and reckless, and 
whose sinfulness she invests with a glamour of 
blinding radiance, will one day waken to a black 
to-morrow. Pause while there is time. Do not 
profane love by allying it with willful vice or 
degrading self-indulgence. 

We hear a great deal of pessimistic talk in these 
mercenary days, when in our great cities at least 
a positive indifference to love and marriage has 
followed in the wake of our modern luxury. 
Bachelor apartments stand to single men in place 
of a simple love-filled home. Girls, self -support- 
ing and prizing their independence, hesitate to re- 
sign it, and are hard to win, even were suitors 
less reluctant to woo. The good old-fashioned 
ways are going out, and as yet nothing very much 
to be desired has come in their place. 

Our young people look far and sagely ahead, 
and consider ways and means. And I, for one, 
am glad when, as he sometimes does, love still 
circumvents them and brings two souls in 
full sight each of the other, and persuades two 
young creatures to whom life is still new and 
fair to fall in love, try their fate together, found 
a home, and think the world well lost. 

37 



The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood 



The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood 



A 



CHAPTER X. 
The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood. 

S I write the caption of this chapter I am. 
aware that girlhood is often anything except 
serene. A period of ferment and unrest, of 
strivings after the unattainable, of discontent 
with fettering restraints, girlhood is not always 
"a happy time, though it is so happy looking." 
And yet, on the whole, the path of girlhood is a 
pleasant path, and the woman who looks back 
to it from the vantage ground of her silver hair, 
sometimes wishes herself back again where its 
flowers grow and its birds sing. 

At its best girlhood is serene, and it is always 
influential. Do girls, I wonder, estimate as they 
ought the power of their spell over the men they 
meet ? 

Not long ago I heard a girl defend a man for a 
course of conduct which was, to say the least, 
open to much criticism, if not really censurable. 
Her inexperience, perhaps, made her confident 
for the expression of her opinion, that one cannot 
hold a man to the same rigid standards of right 
living which are demanded of a woman, was un- 

91 



Life on High Levels 

qualified. An older friend challenged the position 
taken by the young girl, and in a few sentences 
showed her that right and wrong are the same 
for human beings, whatever their surroundings ; 
that a man, equally with a woman, is bound to 
live soberly, honestly, and in the fear of God. 

What I want to impress upon girls is a feeling 
that their influence for good or ill on the charac- 
ters and lives of men is potential and far-reach- 
ing. A girl cannot condone vice in her associates. 
She must not have loosely elastic notions as to 
what her brothers and cousins and the men she 
meets socially may do without reproach. The 
truth is that a man has no license beyond that 
accorded to a woman, and good men and good 
women do not need license. There is abundant 
liberty for all right-minded and right-deeded per- 
sons within the safe and sacred circle of divine 
and human law. 

A girl exercises her influence, first and most 
strongly, by simply being good herself. By good 
I mean all that the term implies — truthful, 
sincere, virtuous, Christian. Such a girl goes on 
her way as Una with her lion. Evil does not 
touch her, for her garments are white. Sin, pro- 
fanity, intemperance, are repelled, and shun her 
presence. 

We will take an example — it may be Bible 
reading or churchgoing, or attendance on the mid- 

92 



The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood 

week prayer meeting. The young girl who 
always, as naturally as the flower blooms, takes 
her stand on the highest plane as to these things, 
creates around her a sweet atmosphere which 
has its magical effect on those whom she meets. 
One such girl Yv r ill uplift a whole set of young 
people, holding them to that which is noble by 
the force of her own sweet consistency, although 
she may never say a word in blame or reproba- 
tion. 

I have seen, at a watering place, a whole gay 
company of young people induced to honor the 
Lord's Day, attend church regularly, and refrain 
from many things which were in doubtful taste, 
simply through the quiet example of one lovely 
girl. I can. see her now, coming down the hotel 
steps at ten o'clock of the bright summer Sabbath 
morning, hymn book in hand, and instantly there 
was a change along the veranda, young men 
rushed to their rooms to assume their church- 
going clothes, girls abandoned the ideas of spend- 
ing the hours till noon in Avalking or lounging, 
and the whole place was toned up. Yet Katharine 
had not said one word, or even looked a sugges- 
tion. 

To let one's light shine! That is the main 
thing. Be the taper ever so small, yet in the 
dark it glows like a star. 

A girl should think seriously whether she can 

93 



Life on High Levels 

take the responsibility of condoning an evil thing. 
She should sooner cut off her right hand than 
use it in offering temptation to a brother or a 
friend. If the friend is her lover, her influence 
is predominant in his life, and she should not 
hesitate to hold him not only to lofty ideals but 
to practical daily living on the very highest 
plane. In a girl's presence there should never be 
jesting about sacred things. Her friendships 
should be made with those who have learned that 
one does not lay a profane hand on the ark of 
God and escape unscathed. 

To a girl's father and mother she is a very 
clear and precious thing, and they are untrue to 
their trust if they do not guard so rare a jeAvel 
with care and pains. Chaperonage, once almost 
unknown in America,, has become the rule among 
people who wish to observe social rules, and I 
take it that most of us are among this number. 

Nobody can afford to scoff at conventionalities. 
These are the hedges built by common consent 
to keep danger out and to give freedom for ap- 
propriate enjoyment to tbose within their in- 
closure. A party of young people, for instance, 
will find an agreeable matron, a mother, an elder 
sister, or married friend, no bar upon their good 
time, but, on the contrary, a decided addition to 
it. AVhile we are proud to say that a girl may 
safely travel the length and breadth of the land 

94 



The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood 

without escort and secure from impertinent intru- 
sion, we must admit that where she can be 
accompanied by a parent or an older friend, it is 
pleasanter for the arrangement to be made. 

In rural towns, where everybody knows every- 
body else, and the young people associate with 
each other in great informality, it is, perhaps, 
unnecessary that rides and drives and picnics 
should be under the care and management of 
the chaperone. Yet, I am sure, that once having 
tried the way which is universal in our cities of 
inviting a matron to forsake her fireside and go 
with the merry crowd, the newer fashion will, for 
reasons of common sense and comfort, supplant 
the old. 

The sweet serenity of girlhood is illy purchased 
if it be at the sacrifice of a mother's ease. Mothers 
are self-denying beings, and they are A^ery apt to 
give up all the pretty dresses and the outings, 
and to assume the heaviest share of the work, in 
order that daughters may be free to enjoy their 
lives in the heyday of youth. 

If mother would listen to me, dears. 
She would freshen that faded gown, 

She would sometimes take an hour's rest. 
And sometimes a trip to town. 

And it shouldn't bo all for the children. 
The fun and the cheer and the play. 

With the patient droop on the tired mouth 
And the " mother has had her day." 

95 



Life on High Levels 

For now your turn has come, dears. 

Her hair is growing white. 
And her eyes are gaining that far-away look 

Which peers beyond the night. 

If you waut to keep your mother, 
You must make her rest to-day, 

Must give her a share in the frolic, 
And draw her into the play. 

A daughter's relation to her father is a thing 
by itself. I know few more charming possibili- 
ties for the most beautiful of life's friendships 
than those which fall naturally into the intimacy 
of a girl with her father. She is often singularly 
like him, so much so that they understand one 
another without the need of explanation, and 
in her fair youth she renews to him his past, 
when her mother was a girl and he her manly 
wooer. To the father, plodding along through 
monotonous and possibly clouded days, for life's 
landscape grows gray as we advance, the young 
daughter is a bit of bloom, a strain of music; 
she is life's poetry in essence. 

Let her be careful not to unduly burden a love 
so great and so little given to its own glorifica- 
tion. She will never be sorry for the attentions 
and the self-denials which grow out of her love 
for her father. 

I have seen few more beautiful instances of the 
sublimity of which girlhood is capable than in 
the constant and unremitting devotion of a brave 
young girl to an invalid father. Hers was 

96 



The Sweet Serenity of Girlhood 

always the hand to soothe his pain, her voice was 
ever sweet for him, her " Coming, my darling," 
always answered his querulous call. Of such are 
the kingdom of heaven, for their ministries 
are "in His name," and Christ rewards them 
with the sweetness which is of the hidden manna. 

The charities in which girls may engage are 
largely organized for them in their Epworth 
League or Christian Endeavor or King's 
Daughters' societies. Few girls there are who do 
not belong to a "Ten," or an equally active 
association of that kind. So that I do not plead 
with you to enter on work of this sort ; it is already 
yours, and you can find in it a sphere of con- 
secrated action. I do urge every young girl to 
have, either in her home or in some missionary 
center, or for some patient shut-in or little neg- 
lected child, a private and individual love-work of 
her very own. Such a girl may know among her 
friends an over-burdened young mother, seldom 
able to leave her nursery long enough to go to 
church for a service, or to visit a friend for a 
half day. To relieve such a one requires only 
tact and gracious sweetness, and the sometimes 
taking her place with tender insistence of re- 
solve. 

To write once a month to a foreign missionary 
a full, bright, and personal letter is not a very 
great task, but it is a sweet thing to do, for it 

7 97 



Life on High Levels 

carries sweetness to the woman who receives this 
proof that she is not forgotten. 

To live a helpful daily life in a round of petty- 
things is not to make a great show in the world, 
but the angels take note of it and write the name 
of the doer high on their tablets. 

" And lo ! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest." 

In one of the parables of our blessed Lord there 
is a word Ave may well heed and remember. 
' ' Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I 
will make thee ruler over many things." Faith- 
ful service in obscurity ! Honor before angels 
and men ! 

98 



The Club 



The Club 



CHAPTER XI. 

The Club. 

CLUBS have ceased to be novel. Nobody 
speaks of them as once with an interroga- 
tion point. They are largely educational so far 
as women are concerned, most of them either 
planning extensive courses for study and reading 
or taking up interesting and practical themes as 
occasion offers. They do for women what the 
debating society does for men, making them bet- 
ter able to hold their own in conversation and 
fitting them to be engaging and pleasing com- 
panions to those whom they meet at home and in 
society. 

We are gregarious beings, and are meant to 
live in company, not in seclusion. The harmony 
of home is more imperiled by the dullness born 
of too much routine than by the brightness which 
comes from the friction of congenial minds, and 
so the club (one club, not a dozen) proves the 
friend, not the foe, of domesticity. 

Women are unwise when they suffer what 
should be an agreeable diversion to become a clog 
upon their time and a drain upon their strength. 
One club is inspiration, recreation, and a benefit 

IOI 



Life on High Levels 

to mind and body. More than one, for most of 
us, is at least a mistake. 

It may happen to you to have to take the chair 
at your club, if it have not, as in some clubs is 
the happy arrangement, the rule that members 
shall preside in turn. Now, at first, the thought 
is rather alarming, and the novice is embarrassed 
at the idea that she must wield the gavel and 
call the meeting to order and be responsible for 
its success. 

But nothing is more essential to any of us than 
to be equal to any emergency, and to be what 
may be called an all-round person. A distin- 
guished teacher told me lately that all-round 
people were going out in these days of specializa- 
tion. This is very well for the professions and 
the trades, but a wife and mother cannot special- 
ize. She must know a little of everything, and 
be able to step from the kitchen to the drawing- 
room, and if need be from the drawing-room to 
the platform, with perfect ease and grace. 

By attention to the manner of fine presiding offi- 
cers, such as Frances E. Willard and Mary Lowe 
Dickinson, who manage large assemblages with 
the gentleness and suavity of a lady at her own 
table, by study of their unfailing courtesy and 
their quickness of decision, much may be learned. 
A little manual of parliamentary tactics is within 
the reach of every woman, its cost being a trifle, 

102 



The Club 

and it tells the intending chairman in brief, con- 
cise terms what she may and what she must not 
do, defines her privileges and her obligations, and 
shows her that her personal preferences are to be 
kept sedulously in the background. 

The woman in the chair cannot exploit her own 
views and opinions. Should she wish to express 
these she must temporarily resign her place and 
let another take it. Her business is to guide 
the meeting, to recognize the different speakers, 
to be impersonal and impartial, and to see that 
•justice reigns, and the will of the majority is 
acknowledged by all. The women on the floor 
should not hesitate to speak freely, and express 
their views. Silence on their part embarrasses 
the chair, and prevents their having the voice 
they should in the management of affairs. 
103 



Our Girl in Business 



Our Girl in Business 



CHAPTER XII. 
Our Girl in Business, 

J\ l\ EN have been in business so many centuries 
* ' * that their success or failure is not a matter 
for much consideration. Among English-speak- 
ing people the entrance of woman in force on the 
arena of business conflict is still too recent to 
have entirely lost its aspects of novelty. French 
women have long been doing precisely what 
Americans are now finding both profitable and 
desirable, carrying on the management of affairs, 
preventing waste in the family economy, and 
saving that the family may have ease and inde- 
pendence when the soft footfall of old age shall 
steal across the door. 

To the introduction of the typewriter we owe 
the appearance in our business streets and offices 
of an army of refined and clever girls, who have 
proved by their quickness, ability, and general 
air of intelligence and capacity that they are a 
trustworthy and admirable element in the busi- 
ness world. As these young women flit about 
our streets, or sit modestly at their little clicking 
machines, they represent a new condition of af- 
fairs among Americans, a condition in which it is 

107 



Life on High Levels 

as usual and as honorable for a girl to be a bread- 
winner as for her father or brother to be the same. 

Breadwinner she often is not for herself only. 
Few girls who carry home their weekly wage 
fail to pour it into the mother's lap, and it goes 
into the household exchequer to eke out the de- 
ficiencies of the family purse. Where this is not 
the case, and the girl, being away from home, 
pays her board and buys her clothes with her 
earnings, she still has almost always someone to 
assist, an ailing sister, a struggling brother, or an 
orphaned child who depends on her for some of 
the comforts, or all of the luxuries, of existence. 
Women, as a rule, are very generous with their 
earnings, and few wage-earners among them have 
only themselves to support. 

Our girl in business needs to gain a reputation 
for punctuality. She owes it to herself, and in- 
deed to all other women, to show that she can be 
prompt in fulfilling an engagement, and honor- 
able in keeping the terms of a contract. She 
must endeavor to conserve her health by consci- 
entiously resting when business hours are over, 
since she has no right to be ill at her employer's 
expense if judicious care can prevent illness. 
The girl in business must deliberately forego late 
evening engagements ; society except incidentally 
and sparingly cannot be indulged by her. ' ' This 
one thing I do," must be her motto. 
1 08 



Our Girl in Business 

If she be a lady — bless the dear and lovely 
word ! — she will so far respect herself that no man 
will presume on rudeness in her presence. Should 
any of those among men with whom her occupa- 
tion brings her into daily companionship offer 
her compromising attentions, she will unhesita- 
tingly decline to accept them. While she will not 
exact the courtesies of the drawing-room, nor ex- 
pect a busy man seated at his desk to rise when 
she enters the room, her own unfailingly modest 
and gracious deportment will win recognition. 
Men will generally, always if they are gentle- 
men, remove their hats in her presence, and 
language used before her will neither be im- 
proper nor profane. She will be treated as a 
business ally, she will seek and stipulate for and 
insist on obtaining the largest salary which her 
services are worth, but certainly she will accept 
neither compliments nor gallantries. These are not 
the due of the young woman in business. Above 
everything else she will scorn any attention which 
is questionable or clandestine. Never stoop to 
concealments ; they are not to be justified ; 
and though a romantic girl sometimes fancies 
that there is an excuse for a sentimental attitude 
which her charms have called forth, she awakens 
in time to an intensity of mortification which 
crushes her with its abasement. Business and 
sentiment are altogether distinct, and our girl 

109 



Life on High Levels 

in an office or a shop has nothing to do with the 
latter. 

To the man whose eye may rest on this page 
let me say that his innate nobleness should be ar- 
rayed for the defense from misunderstanding or 
insult of the woman whose work places her during 
business hours at his side. As he would treat his 
wife or his sister or his daughter, as he would 
wish other men to treat them, let him deal with 
somebody's daughter or sister who has put her 
hand to the task of daily labor. For man, as for 
woman, there is nothing finer or worthier than to 
wear " the white flower of a blameless life" in a 
world which is full of temptation from without 
and from within. 

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, 
but against principalities, against powers, against 
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against 
spiritual wickedness in high places." 

We must remember in the conflicts of every day, 
obscure and humble though they be, that powers 
of evil and of good fight for and against us. So, 
let there always be the word of prayer in the 
morning for strength from above, the word of 
thanks at night for relief granted, and all day 
long and whenever we are tried let the swift cry, 
the appeal of thought, go flying to the throne. 

Never doubt that our Lord will hear and answer 
us in every time of need. 

no 



Our Girl in Business 

Let me give you here a train of thought which 
at home and in business has often brought me 
peace and joy. It has happened to me more than 
once to feel well acquainted with and much in- 
terested in a set of people whom personally I had 
never met. The people were friends of my 
friends, and from the latter I would hear of the 
former until I was more or less familiar with the 
aims and plans and successes of a group of per- 
sons not one of whom I would have known had 
they passed me on the street. I have become 
almost intimate in my thoughts of the Lucy or 
the Mary who was tossed like a ball between her 
desire to gratify her parents and to do them honor 
in society, and her wish to enlist among the vol- 
unteers and work under Mrs. Ballington Booth's 
magnetic direction in the foundations, dim and 
often treacherous, which underlie the social order. 
The Johns and the Harrys, with their careers at 
college, their fortunes to make, and the world all 
before them, have been very much to me, though 
I have never had even a peep at their photo- 
graphs. They were my friends in a sense be- 
cause they were my friends' friends, and though 
they never penetrated into the region of the 
tangible and the actual, they were as real to me 
and as much a part of my life as if I had often 
grasped their hands and sat with them beside the 
firelit hearth. 

in 



Life on High Levels 

I am very much interested in another and quite 
different set of men and women, known to me 
only through the mention of them which I con- 
stantly find in the newspapers. They are always 
very much in evidence there, flitting about to 
Lenox or to Newport or to Florida, or to Europe, 
Asia, or Africa, as the season and their desires 
may prompt. Their names and those of their 
large family connections are as well-known to me 
as are those of my baker or my grocer or the 
dry goods merchants with whom I have dealings, 
and it is really a pleasure to me to know that 
they have wide houses contiguous to one another, 
in which from time to time are brilliant gather- 
ings of their clans. For their feathers and their 
velvets and their jewels I do not care, but I have 
grown into a curious liking for themselves, and 
when one day I heard that a dear grandmother 
among them had gone to her rest, and another 
day when I saw that one of their families had 
lost a sweet child, I was genuinely sympathetic 
and sorrowful. 

Still another and much larger group of person- 
ages enlists my thought, and it is composed of 
the folk who write books. Probably should I 
meet some of these I would be a bit disillusionized, 
for I have met a troop of the people who belong 
to the guild of the author and have not cared for 
them overmuch. Their work was more charm- 
112 



Our Girl in Business 

ing than their personality. Nevertheless, they 
are my dream friends and dear helpers on the 
road, my comrades tried, and they belong to the 
circle of friends, my own, not my friends 1 friends 
merely. 

Now for a single word. If I, imperfect, limited, 
finite, human, can hold in my hand and take to 
my heart so many and so diverse numbers of my 
fellow beings, need I wonder that the Lord Christ, 
all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving, all-guiding, can 
in his hand that was pierced gather up all the 
individuals of the race, every tribe and tongue and 
age ? Shall my faith fail when he assures me, ' ' I 
have called thee by thy name ; thou art mine ? " 
Shall I not confidently believe that of those whom 
the Father hath given him, he will never lose one ? 
Shall I ever for an instant lose the comfort of his 
personal thought of me in every emergency, 
every condition, every hour of life ? 

8 113 



The Duty of Health 



The Duty of Health 



CHAPTER XIII. 
The Duty of Health. 

T AM not sure that we always put it to ourselves 
* in this way. Health seems to us a privilege, 
a gift of God, a circumstance for which to be 
thankful, or an agreeable and satisfactory condi- 
tion of affairs. But health is more than these ; 
for the ordinary person it is a matter of duty, 
largely in one's own hands, and sickness is a 
blunder, not to say a crime. 

A few years ago many people thought it rather 
elegant than the reverse to be not infrequently ill. 
Headaches were common maladies, a lady was 
often indisposed, and fainting fits were by no 
means rare. We heard about rude health as if to be 
well savored of rusticity and showed a lack of re- 
finement, and delicate womanhood exacted certain 
attentions and claimed certain immunities on the 
score of sexual disability and an inherited fragil- 
ity which was curiously regarded as a distinction. 
The milkmaid or the servant lass might indulge 
in a robust frame and a wholesomely sharp appe- 
tite, but the woman of high caste in Christian 
America as in pagan India was a creature to be 
117 



Life on High Levels 

coddled, guarded from wind and sun, and ac- 
corded the right of carte blanche at the druggist's, 
while her doctor's bills formed no mean share of 
the family's annual expenses. 

Providentially all this has undergone a very 
decided change. Popular sentiment has gone to 
the other extreme. The pendulum has swung so 
far over that we are perhaps in danger of magni- 
fying the importance of physical culture, and ex- 
alting the body over the soul. And this is a re- 
sult to be deprecated. A sound mind in a sound 
body, and the ideal of perfect balance is preserved. 

True, there are those who enter the race of 
earthly life handicapped by tendencies to disease, 
tendencies which have enfeebled those who came 
before them. But medical science and hygienic 
discovery have marched grandly in the last quar- 
ter century toward the healing of the sick, and 
heredity is no longer the dreaded foe it once was. 
By strict attention to the laws of health and to 
judicious environment tendencies and weaknesses 
can be overcome, and nobody need fight a losing 
battle who trusts God and sets himself in earnest 
to the reinforcement of his constitution. Much 
can be done in childhood, much can be done in 
youth, by the brave and conscientious and reso- 
lute seeker for health. 

Health is dependent on temperance, cleanliness, 
and right living all through. The denial of base 

118 



The Duty of Health 

appetites, the eating of good food in proper 
quantities, the taking of sufficient exercise, of suf- 
ficient hathing, and of sufficient sleep, are the 
open secrets of those who are habitually well. 

It is doubtful whether most women eat enough 
to supply strength, counterbalancing the waste of 
tissue which our busy lives make inevitable. Few 
of us bring good appetites to our breakfast tables, 
and most of us know the aversion which one feels 
in the early day to such substantial fare as chops 
and steak, or hot griddlecakes, however delicately 
prepared. The course of fruit, followed by a 
well-cooked cereal, oatmeal or wheatlet, this pre- 
ceding an egg, and the whole finished by a bit of 
toast and a cup of tea or coffee, is the breakfast 
which nearly all women like best. 

We will suppose this breakfast taken at seven 
o'clock, or at half past seven, because when men 
go to business and children to school, and a single 
maid, or at most two maids, compose the house- 
hold staff, breakfast cannot be late. Personally I 
prefer a late to an early breakfast, and when 
women are past their first youth think that when- 
ever it is practicable they should start life's wheels 
very gently in the morning. A cup of hot milk, 
slightly sprinkled with salt, or of hot malted milk, 
with a cracker, if taken while dressing, will do 
away with the feeling of goneness which is a pe- 
culiarly distressing accompaniment of the early 

119 



Life on High Levels 

morning. Then a later breakfast, taken at lei- 
sure, is a comfort and a luxury. 

But when one cannot do what one would, one 
must do the best the circumstances permit. For 
many women, their place is at the breakfast table 
in the early morning, and they cannot eat much 
then, and therefore ought to supplement the meal 
with something else by and by. 

About eleven o'clock a cup of cocoa and a piece 
of bread and butter, or else a glass of milk and a 
biscuit, will give the needed nourishment and re- 
new the strength which is beginning to wane. 
This is often a real necessity, too, to children, and 
while constant nibbling is not to be allowed, deli- 
cate little people or sturdily growing and forever 
hungry boys should have a refection midway be- 
tween breakfast and noon. This does not inter- 
fere with the one o'clock meal, which should be a 
hearty and substantial affair, including meat and 
a vegetable or two, crackers, cheese, and a dessert. 
If people like pies, let them fill the dessert course at 
luncheon rather than at the six o'clock or the seven 
o'clock dinner, which, by the way, should never 
be a meal for children, whose most important re- 
past ought to come in the middle of the day, un- 
less school hours prevent. In the latter case 
children should have their dinner not later than 
five o'clock. 

Blessed be the saint who invented afternoon tea. 

1 20 



The Duty of Health 

At half past four or five, when the tea things are 
brought in, the pretty cups and saucers, the shin- 
ing copper or silver teapot, the thin biscuits, 
wafers, or sponge cake, the family and any in- 
formal visitors who happen in may have a pleas- 
ant hour of talk and refreshment to soul and body. 
Nobody who acquires the habit of afternoon tea 
ever willingly gives it up, and it does not in the 
least take from the appetite for dinner. On the 
contrary the little fillip given the nerves by the 
five o'clock tea brings one with better heart to 
the most formal function of the day, the dinner, 
when labors are over and the household gathered 
at ease and with plenty of time to enjoy a meal. 

Last of all, the cup of hot milk or boullion, just 
before retiring, is to be recommended, and, 
when pursued by insomnia, fight that fiend with 
a crisp cracker or a crust of bread. I think that 
to eat often and not too much at once is a golden 
rule for nervous Americans. An old gentleman 
of my acquaintance is now hale and hearty at 
eighty-six, straight as a palm tree, fresh-colored 
and ruddy as a boy, and a trip across this great 
continent is counted by him as a mere holiday 
excursion, for he has not yet reached the stage 
where the grasshopper is a burden. 

I asked him once how he had contrived to keep 
so well, and he replied : " A good conscience has 
allowed me to sleep without much interruption 

121 



Life on High Levels 

during long nights. I have always retired early. 
I eat a luncheon at eleven o'clock, and I never 
let myself grow faint between meals. I take 
long walks." 

The bicycle has enabled our young people to 
take pleasant exercise in the open air, and its 
general use by women as well as men has un- 
doubtedly raised the health rate. For one thing 
it has shoAvn women the futility of improper 
dress; a style of dress which interferes with 
breathing in comfort and which hangs heavy 
weights on the muscles of the back cannot be 
allowed the graceful and happy wheelwoman. 
Once having discovei'ed that dress can be hy- 
gienic, and still modish, becoming, and beautiful, 
our girls have made an advance on the road to 
unbroken health. 

Dress should be adapted to the occasions when 
it is to be worn. For society, it may be as elegant 
and ceremonious as one's means will permit. 
For the street, the office, the kitchen, the busi- 
ness, or the shopping requirement, or for travel- 
ing, let dress be simple, serviceable, and subordi- 
nate to the wearer's convenience. A skirt which 
trails over a muddy avenue or down polluted 
stairs is an offense not only to the fastidious but 
to persons of ordinary common sense. 

The danger of overdoing in exercise is quite 
as much to be feared as is the peril of overwork. 
122 



The Duty of Health 

Because you hear that a friend has gained im- 
mensely by her practice in the gymnasium or 
by long walks, do not fly at once to the conclu- 
sion that you can emulate her. Begin with the 
littles and go on. If you live in the hill-country 
of the South or in some community where people 
ride much on horseback you will find that exer- 
cise the most delightful which you can possibly 
take, surpassing the wheel, because a living crea- 
ture under you is more sympathetic and more 
lovable, and much greater fun, take it all round, 
than a thing made of steel and India rubber can 
possibly be. 

Horseback riding, however, in our cities and 
towns is only for a very limited class, for those 
to whom money is not a question for close consid- 
eration. 

Exercise with the broom ! Do I hear an old- 
fashioned grandmother's voice crying, ' ' What's 
the matter with housework as excellent exer- 
cise ? " There is this the matter, that it is often 
not interesting, and that it is taken in hot and 
stuffy rooms with closed windows. Xo class 
among us fades so easily and ages so soon as our 
domestic servants, and a subtle malady of the 
blood, in which it loses its vitality fast, is found 
among them, the product of hot kitchens and 
too little outdoor freedom. Let us do our house- 
work and do it well, but do not let us suppose 

123 



Life on High Levels 

that it is a panacea, or that it will enable us to 
forego outdoor air and exercise. In fact our 
great trouble is that in our highly civilized life 
we do not get out of doors enough. Air is life, 
and healthful exercise in pure air will keep us 
vigorous and add to our good looks. 

Another item in the preservation of health is 
repose. Rest when you are tired. 

To some of my readers there is a fine irony in 
this direction. For their work is behind the 
counter, or at the sewing machine, or in the fold- 
ing room, or at the typesetter's case, and they 
have little chance to rest from the drudgery and 
monotony of their daily routine. I trust a day is 
coming when employers will understand the need 
their operatives have of occasional rest-times 
through the day. Till then, let me repeat, snatch 
what rest you can and look on the bright side. It 
is better to have work and be tired, than to eat 
your heart out because you are tired of having 
no work. 

Sleep, tired nature's sweet restorer, knits the 
raveled sleeve of care and literally makes us over, 
night after night. Retire early. It is a golden 
rule for the worker who toils with hand or brain. 
There is rest in the velvet darkness and the blessed 
stillness of the night, even if one must lie awake, 
rest for the weary muscles, for the eyes, for the 
ears. Try to put yourself to sleep by thoughts 

I2 4 



The Duty of Health 

of green fields, of purling streams, of flowers nod- 
ding in the gentle wind. If you have the chil- 
dren's habit of dropping off to dreamland as soon 
as your head touches the pillow, you are to be con- 
gratulated, for this is a pledge of a long life lease. 
Think of health as a duty. Discourage the idea 
that illness isever to be more than a transient inter- 
ruption of your methodical days. Should God 
■choose to send it, accept it from his hand without 
a murmur, but be very sure that God has really 
sent it, for more than half of our illnesses are due 
to our needless self-indulgence or our own reck- 
less infringement of plain laws. One may be in- 
temperate with so simple a thing as candy or cake. 
One may invite pneumonia by sitting down in a 
draught when one is in a perspiration. One may 
court rheumatism by wet feet. It is wise to have 
the habit of health, to regard health as a duty, and 
then, not to spend too much time in talking and 
fussing but just taking it for granted that all is 
as it should be, to go on and do one's work. The 
day for work, the night for rest, and God caring 
for us all through. So life glides tranquilly on. 
125 



Our Daily Talk 



Our Daily Talk 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Our Daily Talk. 

I HEARD the other day a terrible and shocking 
*■ piece of profanity, yet the person who uttered 
it with an unblushing countenance seemed en- 
tirely unconscious that he was violating decency, 
as well as offending God. Probably his daily 
speech had become so vitiated that oaths were to 
him as commonplace as the alphabet. Few well- 
taught men and women, brought up among polite 
and gently-bred people, are offenders in this re- 
gard, but a word about our daily talk may, never- 
theless, not be superfluous. 

For, indeed, we have individually and collec- 
tively an obligation to our mother tongue. How 
remarkable is the person whose use of English is 
always correct, who converses fluently and gram- 
matically, and who uses the right word in the 
right place. The hall-mark of refinement is dis- 
cernible here, both in the choice of language to 
appropriately clothe one's thoughts and in the 
pleasant intonations which convey an impression 
of the gentleman and the gentlewoman. 

Slang which has invaded our drawing-rooms — 

9 129 



Life on High Levels 

the more is the pity ! — is opposed to elegance, and 
should be eliminated from our daily talk. Of 
course, slang is sometimes picturesque, and it 
sometimes has an apt way of implying more than 
lies on the surface. Nevertheless, the really cul- 
tivated person must frown on its use, must not 
permit it to creep into his familiar conversation. 
A good rule about our daily talk is this : Never 
in our most informal home-speech, never in our 
talk with parents, relatives, or friends, to use any 
phrase, sentence, or expression whatever, the use 
of which, in any imaginable company or in any 
circumstances, could fill us with mortification. 

Manners and talk are revelations of character. 
Our customary style of speech " bewrayeth " us, 
to use the Scripture word. A queen masquerad- 
ing in a peasant's garb would show herself of the 
court by the silver smoothness of her tones, the 
grace of her inflections, the charming appropriate- 
ness of her language. The boor, no matter how 
finely arrayed, has but to open his mouth to dis- 
close his lack of urbane training. 

Young people need to be cautioned against ex- 
aggeration and hyperbole, as well as against ex- 
plosive exclamations of surprise, anger, or dismay, 
which, add no real strength to speech, and yet crop 
out continually in the chatter of the ill-educated. 
' ' Heavens ! " " Goodness ! " " Mercy ! " " Great 
Scott!" "By Jove!" and similar expletives are 

130 



Our Daily Talk 

open to criticism on grounds which Avill readily 
occur to anyone who gives them a moment's 
thought, and as they add nothing whatever to a 
conversation, but on the contrary are a detraction 
from its pleasure, why not banish them from com- 
mon use ? I have heard of a family where a fine 
was exacted for each lapse into this objectionable 
sort of speech, the aggregate going into the home 
missionary offering at the end of every month. 
As habit has a great deal to do with our modes of 
speech, Avhy not be at pains to eliminate the silly 
"ohs!" and "ahs!" and "mys!" and other ex- 
clamations which absurdly sprinkle the talk of 
the heedless person who makes up for lack of 
something worth saying by saying many things 
of little worth. 

Again, in our daily talk it is well to avoid slip- 
shod and slovenly methods of pronunciation. We 
need not drop final "gs,"nor run our words to- 
gether in such wise that "and " loses its " d, 1 ' and 
"have" is shortened to "hev,"and "which" is 
transformed into "witch," and verbal inaccura- 
cies abound. A little more time if you please, 
and give each word its fair share of breath so 
that it will fall from the lips clear-cut as a new 
coin from the mint. 

Almost as great a mistake as that made by the 
over-rapid and careless speaker is the one made 
by the other whose evident intention to be elegant 

131 



Life on High Levels 

obliges her to select words which have no merit 
except their length. Mrs. Malaprop herself is 
outdone by people who determine never to use a 
short word if they can find a long one, and whose 
sentences labor heavily, lumbering along, till we 
are distressed at the needless effort, and yearn to 
help the speakers by a timely colloquial lift. No- 
body is so tedious as a conversational pedant, or a 
prig who uses ornamental and formal language 
where it is manifestly out of place. 

The short words are usually the best for daily 
use. If anyone wishes to know how much may 
be done with monosyllabic words, how beautiful 
and swift of pace and full of meaning they can 
be, let them read Stevenson's inimitable Child 
Garden of Verse. I open the dear book at ran- 
dom, and I chance upon this, to the wind : 

" I saw you toss the kites on high. 
And blow the birds about the sky, 
And all around I heard you pass 
Like ladies' skirts across the grass. 
O wind, a-blowing all day long, 
wind, that sings so loud a song." 

Stevenson, dearly beloved, too soon gone from 
among men, had you left us only this good ex- 
ample, we had been your debtors for evermore. 

So far, I have been concerned with the man- 
ner of our daily talk, but its matter is per- 
haps of even more solemn importance. ' ' By thy 
words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words 

132 



Our Daily Talk 

thou shalt be condemned, " we read in the holiest of 
books. It has been well said that for our fancies, 
our thoughts, our notions, we may not always be 
responsible, but our words are under our own con- 
trol. We can be silent under great provocation, 
and nobody can force us to speak against our will. 

Our daily talk should not descend to unkind 
gossip about our neighbors, to unfriendly censure 
of the motives of people, motives which we can- 
not know, since often we are much puzzled about 
our own. It is beneath the dignity of a decently 
brought-up person, leaving Christian character 
wholly outside the reckoning, to trade in slander, 
to carry stories to and fro, to whisper innuendoes, 
or to repeat secrets. Of each of us let it be told 
that our tongues have been ruled by kindness, that 
where we have been able to say nothing in praise 
we at least have refrained from blame. 

There is a mean and cowardly silence which suf- 
fers a friend's good name to be impugned without 
rushing to its defense. There is a malignant si- 
lence which conveys a lie as readily as the most 
abusive speech. From such silence, unworthy a 
straightforward and honorable person, in all con- 
versational encounters, we reverently pray, 
" Good Lord, deliver us." 

Let us, as a matter of course, in our daily talk, 
speak the truth. The temptation to add a little 
to a narrative, to amplify without reference to 

T O O 
1 1 1 



Life on High Levels 

exact detail, to evade, to prevaricate, may come, 
for all falsehood is from our ancient adversary, 
who is ever prowling about to catch us in an 
unguarded moment, and he has been styled the 
father of lies. But here, as in every situation, 
resist the devil and he will flee from you. We 
may be, and we should be, crystal clear, abso- 
lutely sincere and frank in our daily talk. 

Blessed, too, is the agreeable companion who 
takes the trouble to talk about what is going on 
in the world, who, hearing a droll witticism, or 
a merry quip, an anecdote or a proverb, passes it 
on. Such a person comes into the dull household 
and brightens it, is an invaluable guest at the 
dinner-table, and goes nowhere without being 
sure of a welcome. 

134 



The Engaged Couple 



The Engaged Couple 



CHAPTER XV. 
The Engaged Couple. 

BEGINNINGS are always fascinating. Few 
of us can resist the charm of novelty. The 
first impulse sends us with light steps and happy 
hearts to the new and untried enterprise; it is 
when the story has grown hackneyed, and the 
road familiar, and the clay has settled down to the 
dead-level of the commonplace, that we show of 
what mettle we are made. 

To the pair who have just pledged their faith 
in each other, life assumes rose tints and the at- 
mosphere is radiant. True, there may now and 
then intrude a half-whispered doubt as to 
whether the perfect day will always last, but the 
shadow is so evanescent that it casts no gloom, 
and the young people drift on through a ten- 
der and delightful succession of dreamy hours ; 
she, rejoicing that she has found one whom it is 
her pleasure and pride to proclaim worthy to 
receive her heart's loyalty ; he, elated and amazed 
and altogether blessed, sometimes humbled in his 
own esteem, sometimes towering over his fellows 
like Saul over the children of his tribe, in his 

137 



Life on High Levels 

gladness that the best and dearest of women has 
consented to share his lot. The engaged couple 
walk on air. The girl does not need the pretty 
distinction of the ring which sparkles on her 
finger to set her apart from other girls ; the man 
goes about clothed with a most becoming dignity, 
now that he has wooed and won the princess whom 
he feels that he has been seeking ever since he left 
boyhood behind him. 

The engaged pair are always objects of interest 
and sympathy to those outside the charmed and 
mystic circle which invisibly surrounds them, for 
all the world loves a lover. It is their own fault, 
or at least their own misfortune, if they alienate 
this regard by a too pronounced selfishness, if 
they are so wrapped up in egoism that they cease 
to be altruistic, and show plainly that they have 
no care for anything of which they are not the 
center. Here is a danger to be averted by cau- 
tion. For Amy does not cease to be a daughter, 
a sister, a friend, a fellow-worker, when she be- 
comes Theodore's fiancee, and Theodore still has 
duties to his home and to society, to the Sunday 
school, the church, and the community, after Amy 
has promised to be his wife. A proper devotion to 
one another they are expected to feel and to show, 
but there are limits even to the amount of time 
and the degree of attention which the days of 
courtship demand. 

138 



The Engaged Couple 

For many reasons long engagements are trying 
to the temper and the patience of Mends and 
kindred, as well as to the health and spirits of 
the betrothed persons. More or less the engaged 
are under a strain. They are living at high pres- 
sure. There is something unreal in the condi- 
tions of their existence. They cannot settle down 
comfortably to the plain, everyday prose of life, 
now that their hours are set to the music and 
rhythm of poetry. 

'"Zekel erep' up quite unbeknown 
And peeked in through the winder. 

Huldy sot shellin' peas alone, 
With nuthin' nigh to hinder." 

Very humble and homely sweethearts these, 
but who does not love them when 

" His heart was goin' pitapat, 
And her'n went pity 'Zekel ?" 

In a more polished social state the lover is not 
less bashful underneath, though he may carry 
himself with a greater outward assurance, for it is 
the very essence of love to be timorous, and the 
coy withdrawal of the maidenly soul is matched 
by the delicate homage of the man who fears to 
advance too boldly. Beautiful dawn of the day, 
which may go on through happy gradations from 
morning till night, until at last the one true lover 
may say to the other when the shadows gather 
in the evening sky, 

139 



Life on High Levels 

"Don't be sorrowful, darling, 

Don't be sorrowful, pray; 
Taking the year together, my dear. 

There isn't more night than day." 

Engaged people should be congenial comrades. 
Do you know what comradeship means ? What 
of work shared and sorrows halved and joys mul- 
tiplied it implies ? Why, think of it ! Your com- 
rade takes the road with you, rests awhile, roams 
awhile, carries part of the burden, earns the day's 
wage and divides it when reckoning time comes, 
just as you do with him or with her. Married 
people who are not comrades fret each other as 
they go. wear on each other, are incompatible in 
temper ; their lives are full of friction. It would 
be well for engaged people who discover that they 
are not already comrades to pause while there is 
time and consider whether or not their disposi- 
tions, qualities, and pursuits will incline them to 
comradeship when they are irrevocably wedded. 

I plead for the short engagement. Once you 
have decided to belong to one another, do not put 
off marriage indefinitely while you wait for a 
larger salary, better prospects, more luxurious 
probabilities. The lapse of a few weeks or 
months is quite enough between the "yes'' which 
plights the vow and the sacramental day when 
the bride slips her hand into her husband's, and 
both solemnly promise to be loyal and loving 
" till death do us part." 

140 



The Engaged Couple 

Wherever it is possible the sanction of parents 
and guardians should hallow and dignify the be- 
trothal. Love does not always find parental ap- 
proval ready to accept his entrance upon the 
scene; fathers are not invariably ready to wel- 
come the men who ask for their idolized daugh- 
ters ; mothers feel that their very hearts are 
wounded when their sons set their affection on 
some girl from the house of the stranger. Young 
people are slow to believe that the judicious criti- 
cism of older friends may have a raison d'etre. 
Opposition precipitates avowals and stirs passion- 
ate desires which else had been held in abeyance. 
Nevertheless the son and the daughter may well 
trust the love which has been theirs since infancy, 
and parents have a right to be consulted and re- 
spectfully heard, even when they do not arrive 
at the conclusions which to their children seem 
the only ones possible to fair and discriminating 
judgment. Wait a little before deciding — do not 
irrevocably pledge yourselves till you have al- 
lowed time to convince you that the dear parents 
are not in the right. Love which is of the true, 
strong, eternal sort will sooner or later Avin recog- 
nition and prove its claims to be fair. 
141 



"Beginning Where Parents 
Leave Off" 



"Beginning Where Parents Leave Off " 



CHAPTER XVI. 
" Beginning Where Parents Leave Off." 
E are confronted in our complex modern 



w 



civilization among the highly educated and 
refined classes of society with a growing indiffer- 
ence to marriage. The unmarried man in our 
larger cities finds himself provided with bachelor 
apartments where his physical comfort is looked 
after and his material wants are attended to by 
janitors, waiters, and a well organized service. 
He may live as expensively or as frugally as he 
chooses, and he is one of a numerous army of men 
who remain independent of family ties and obli- 
gations, responsible for nobody except themselves, 
and equipped as to the outward forms of life with 
every appliance for luxury. 

The term " bachelor maid," a singularly infe- 
licitous and repellant one, is very commonly ap- 
plied to the young woman who, standing squarely 
on her own feet and paying her own way, asks of 
the world nothing but a chance to show what she 
can do. 

Now, so far as it goes, and for individuals, the 
bachelor life, selfish as its tendencies are, and 
10 i 4S 



Life on High Levels 

lonely as it grows toward the end unless the per- 
son concerned is more than ordinarily fortunate, 
is free from certain anxieties and burdens, and is 
entirely respectable, but the more excellent way is 
that old-fashioned and simple one, accepted with- 
out question in former years, in which young peo- 
ple are mutually attracted, marry, and establish 
homes, and the family, going on, keeps up the suc- 
cession of the race. 

The modern objection to matrimony in most 
cases, if it could be discovered, would be found 
deep-lying, not in disinclination of the one sex to 
the other, not in a vocation for monasticism, but 
in the fear of poverty. 

' ' I cannot ask a girl to leave her father's house, 
where she has had everything heart could wish, 
and begin life with me on my small salary," is the 
man's explanation. "Young people," says the 
cynic, ' ' must begin in these days where their par- 
ents leave off." 

Not long ago I heard a pathetic tale of two 
young people, not babes in the woods, but the son 
and daughter, respectively, of wealthy New York 
merchants. Jack's salary was larger than that 
of most college presidents or distinguished minis- 
ters of the Gospel, in very favoring circumstances. 
Fanny's mother furnished the house for the 
young husband and wife and promised to buy all 
Fanny's clothes, just as when she was a girl at 
146 



"Beginning Where Parents Leave Off" 

home. Nevertheless they came to shipwreck. 
Debts accumulated, the exactions of city life in 
the way of clubs, carriages, the opera, and I can- 
not tell what else, kept them as verily paupers as 
the poorest denizen of the East Side, their credit- 
ors haunted their steps, and at last accounts they 
had been obliged, said my informant, to bury 
themselves in the country. Poor things ! One 
wonders what had become of their American 
pluck and common sense. Too much ease and 
too much command of wealth, when one is 
young and still crude and inexperienced, ener- 
vate and enfeeble those who might in stim- 
ulating poverty and under the discipline of 
narrower means amount to something strong 
and fine. 

In contrast to this pair of incapables, I think of 
another married couple who have very little of 
this world's gear, and an exceedingly small annual 
income, who yet are living cheerily, honestly, and 
happily in a little home of their own. They keep 
no maid, and they do not try to entertain except 
on a veiy small scale ; a friend being welcome to 
share their loaf and their cup and their broiled 
chop and baked potato, and they are laying the 
foundations for successful home-building. A man 
who recently died, leaving a very large fortune, 
said that his wife and he had made it a rule, no 
matter how little they had, to put by a little from 

147 



Life on High Levels 

it every week, and thus saving they made their 
large acquisitions possible in time. 

I cannot too strongly state my conviction that 
young men often do very great injustice to young 
women by supposing that the latter would shrink 
from sharing their poverty. It is quite the opposite 
could they read the inmost mind of the modest 
girl who is forbidden to show regard before it has 
been asked. Granted that a girl loves and honors 
a man, she is more than willing to share the hard- 
ships of his beginnings, nor will she count them 
hard. "Where there's bread for one there's 
bread for two," said the true wife of a young 
European artist, who thought to cross the Atlan- 
tic and carve his fortune here, sending later for 
his wife to join him. But she came with him, and 
together they toiled till fame brought him laurels 
and gold was poured into his lap. 

Poverty and wealth are in a sense accidental 
and are always comparative. It is no great mat- 
ter whether we ever arise above moderate circum- 
stances, and the care of large wealth is not less a 
burden than the struggle with poverty which robs 
the shoulder of strength and the eye of luster. 

" Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me 
with food convenient for me," was the prayer of 
one who had great wisdom. Enough to keep 
one's home in modest comfort, to exorcise the 
demon of debt, to enable one to live in self- 

148 



"Beginning Where Parents Leave Off" 

respect and serenity is all that any of us should 
crave. 

To the youth and maiden who have health, 
hope, and faith in God, marriage should present 
no obstacles which a firm will and a united reso- 
lution will not easily push aside. Begin simply. 

It will be well for this republic when its young 
men and women cease to dread a temporary 
period of hardship, and when our old ideals of 
simplicity are no longer dethroned. 

149 



Domestic Finance 



Domestic Finance 



CHAPTER XVII. 
Domestic Finance. 

WHETHER or not we have much money or 
little, we must administer what we have 
with due discretion or we shall conspicuously fail 
of receiving our money's worth. In the firm of 
' ' Wife and Self " the parties are in reality partners 
in business as well as friends who have taken one 
another for better or for worse. This view of the 
case is not always the accepted one, many excel- 
lent husbands practically behaving as if their wives 
were rather worthy mendicants whose persistent 
begging entitled them to relief, but who had no 
claim on the household exchequer except the 
claim of chai'ity besought. 

When we look at the thing impartially a glance 
shows us that the home funds belong to both hus- 
band and wife in equal measure, for if he earns 
them, she makes it possible for him to do so by 
giving him the home as a background, a shelter, 
a refuge, a place for withdrawal when his work is 
done. Her part in their joint lives is the part of 
the home-maker, and it is a matter of convenience 
that she should stay where she can keep house 

153 



Life on High Levels 

and watch children and cook dinners and sew, 
while he goes to the shop or the mill and, free- 
handed and light-hearted, toils hi the daily round 
for the weekly wage. 

The sensible way to look at domestic finance is 
to face it squarely and determine how much of 
the income is to be spent for rent or for payments 
in purchasing a home, how much for food and 
clothing, how much for the pew in church, for the 
literature which comes into the family, for church 
collections, and for charities. The running ex- 
penses of the home can be estimated, also the 
amount husband and wife should each reserve 
for their daily personal uses. 

When possible the wife should have her per- 
sonal allowance, out of which her individual ex- 
penses shall come. This cannot always be man- 
aged, but no honored wife should ever be humili- 
ated by having to ask for every penny she wishes 
to spend. Wives never cease to hate this. I have 
known gray-haired women, the wives of men 
whose ships sailed the seas and whose stocks 
boomed in the market-places, who admitted with 
tears that the necessity of asking for money and 
the mortification of explaining what they did with 
it when it was grudgingly given had been the 
secret cross of their lives, the hair shirt under 
soft silk and sheen of velvet. All so exaspera- 
tingly needless, too, this petty pain which should 

154 



* Domestic Finance 

never have been borne, yet which was keen 
enough to chill the warmth of love, to cast a 
shadow over much home sunshine. 

A man, when you go to him for a contribution, 
either grants or denies your request, seldom wait- 
ing to consult Mary. A woman, similarly ap- 
proached, in nine cases out of ten, is forced to 
make some excuse, or to tell you quite plainly 
that she cannot give anything until she has spoken 
to John. 

The reason why women so largely give by in- 
direction, by fairs and cake sales and suppers 
and in other roundabout ways, is that they are 
able to bestow their time and they can make ar- 
ticles to sell or take from their pantries flour, 
sugar, and spice at their will, and thus they can 
raise funds, while it would be beyond their power, 
whatever their wish might be, to contribute any- 
thing outright. Yet by strenuous exertion, con- 
trivance, and management they do give very gen- 
erously, though not quite as they would like to 
do, did they hold what Christopher North called 
"the Key of the Kist and the Siller. " It is a 
strong element in daily happiness, the holding the 
power of the purse. Many charming women, 
who appear in public richly gowned, whose rai- 
ment is of purple and fine linen, and who fare 
sumptuously every day, never have more than a 
little change in their pockets. 

155 



Life on High Levels 

Sometimes, if the husband of such a woman is 
liberal and prosperous, he pays her bills when 
they are sent to him without murmur or com- 
plaint. Often their amount seems to him extraor- 
dinarily large, and he pays with a grudge and a 
grumble. If he be a stingy person, he makes life 
very forlorn for the wife whose financial trans- 
actions pass through his hands. 

I once knew a sordid man who was in receipt 
of a good income and who believed in treating his 
wife like an immature child. " Betty wouldn't 
know what to do with money if she had it," he 
used to say, and Betty colored and sighed, but was 
too proud to remonstrate before folk. Out of her 
small housekeeping purse, for Betty went to 
market daily, by five-cent pieces and silver dimes 
and tiny three-cent coins poor Betty one year 
saved enough to buy her husband a Christmas 
gift, and she carried her little hoard just as it was 
to the jeweler's shop, where she made her selec- 
tion, and poured it in a shining and pathetic heap 
on the counter. 

But the worst was to come. Will you believe 
it — you must for this is plain, unvarnished truth — 
when Betty's husband received the present he ex- 
claimed at her extravagance, and compelled her 
to take back the article to the merchant who sold 
it and ask for the money it cost ! So mean may the 
spirit of cupidity make a man in whom it reigns. 

156 



Domestic Finance 

But loose and illogical methods of domestic fi- 
nance work also to the disadvantage of husbands. 
Women avIio are treated like immature play- 
things, who are never taught responsibility, 
who are kept wholly in the dark as to their hus- 
band's resources, and the larger the income the 
more likely is this to be the case, often innocently 
spend more than they ought. They are not aAvare 
of any reason for exercising thrift. They indulge 
every caprice and give full sway to their Avhims, 
and the result is that they handicap the husband 
whom else they might assist. 

Money is a talent, an opportunity, an open 
door, a gift which we hold in fee from God. The 
love of money is the root of all evil, but money is 
itself a good if rightly used. In the management 
of the home finances, there should be recognition 
of the common right of both heads of the house 
to know all about their common property. They 
should confer candidly as to its administration. 
What is spent, what is saved, what is invested, 
what is given away, should equally concern both. 
Depend upon it, the arrangement of the money 
matters of the simplest home, on a fair basis, with 
impartial justice, and with a view to the wife's 
share in the disposition of whatever there is, will 
tend to the self-respect and the complete content- 
ment of the family circle. 

157 



Shall the Wife be a Breadwinner ? 



Shall the Wife be a Breadwinner? 



CHAPTER XVIII. 
Shall the Wife be a Breadwinner? 

'""TO this question the answer is sometimes given 
* unequivocally, " By no means. "If the wife be 
the mother of little children, if she be even par- 
tially an invalid, if there is no need that her ex- 
ertions shall increase the family income, if her 
taking on her shoulders the labor of i^artially 
supporting the household means that she shall be 
overworked and borne down with care, then let 
her hesitate long before she accepts such a task. 
Certainly there is no propriety in the wife's un- 
dertaking wage-earning work if the result of her 
doing so be that she is left to support an indo- 
lent husband, a thing almost unheard-of except 
among the very ignorant or the intemperate. 
Charity workers often find wives undertaking 
willing task-work. But no man who is manly, 
or even decent, will for an instant shirk his own 
obligations and shift them to his wife, nor 
take from her weary hands ease which she pays 
for as with her life blood. 

There are circumstances in which it is proper 
and convenient for the wife to add to the family 

11 161 



Life on High Levels 

income by the exercise of trained ability. Where, 
for example, she has, perhaps before her marriage, 
made for herself a place and name in some field 
of literature or art, in journalism or medicine, or 
any other profession, it may be wise for her to 
continue to whatever extent the new conditions 
make practicable the career on which she has en- 
tered, and which has already rewarded her efforts 
with success. The money she thus honorably 
earns will enable her, if her husband's means are 
moderate, to make their joint home more beau- 
tiful, and she can pay for service in departments 
which an unskilled Avorker can learn to fill. I 
can see no reason why the journalist, having 
married, should be obliged to make bread when 
her forte is really writing editorials ; nor why the 
doctor shall spend her time sewing up long 
w hite seams when she could be better employed 
in stitching up wounds and alleviating pain. 
There is more than the mere money question 
here involved, for these workers are assisting 
humanity on a plane beyond the limited domestic 
sphere. This must be wisely cared for first, or 
the other will not, however, be a success. 

Women whom I delight to honor have cheer- 
fully and ably taken hold of the heavy end of the 
load when their husbands have been ill or unfor- 
tunate in business, and have filled their houses 
with summer boarders or with lodgers, or, in the 

162 



Shall the Wife be a Breadwinner? 

way which seemed most appropriate, have 
brought their talents to bear on the situation, 
usually without complaint and with pluck and 
perseverance. In such emergencies there has 
been no sacrifice either of wifely dignity or of 
those winning graces which make the lady be- 
loved of all who meet her. Her children have 
generally been judiciously trained, and their 
mother's business ventures have not resulted in 
neglect of their truest interests. On the contrary, 
in such households young people are apt to be 
exceptionally well equipped for life's battles. 

The sum of the matter is probably this : When 
the necessity arises, let the wife, if her health 
allow and her judgment approve, assume the 
breadwinner's role, not that this is the ideal thing, 
but it is a thing to which no sensible person can 
reasonably object. It is also the separate and 
personal affair of each wife and each husband, 
and outsiders who censure or criticize are meddle- 
some and impertinent, decidedly beyond the 
confines of good breeding. 

When the wife by native genius or acquired 
skill, or long and costly training, has become 
proficient in any branch, or at home in any field 
where education and practice count for much, let 
her not hesitate to carry her gifts to the market- 
place. Her husband will be proud of her, and 
her generation will not be robbed of her ability 

163 



Life on High Levels 

"to serve the present age." And, as women are 
in temperament and by habit vicarious, her gains 
will not be selfish nor her triumphs individual ; 
she will bless many homes in adding to the 
wealth of one. 

Only, by way of caution, dear gifted wife, re- 
member that home must take precedence of 
everything else. You belong first to the man you 
have married, next to the world ; you belong first 
to the domesticities, next to the region outside 
your front door. The music, the poetry, the 
painting, the glamour and the glow which have 
been around the studies, the arts and the sci- 
ences, and the work they have jealously exacted, 
are all splendid in their developments, though 
severe in their requirements, the splendor and the 
rigor both part of the girl's life, rather than the 
wife's, and thenceforward they are incidental 
only, not ever to be thrust into the foreground. 
Hence it is true that a wife must not expect a 
career, nor hope to work with the absolute single- 
heartedness and freedom which the spinster may 
bring to her task. The wife who helps to win 
the bread, or who adds some of the luxuries 
which else might be done without, is within her 
legitimate province, but she must be contented to 
resign some ambitions, and to clip the wings 
which would bear her too far above the ground 
where love has appointed her life work. 
164 



Rich Girls and Wage-Earning 



Rich Girls and Wage-Earning 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Rich Girls and Wage-Earning;. 

'"PHE sweet face uplifted to mine in the sunset 
A light was almost pallid in the intensity of its 
anxious thought. Ruth had sought my advice on a 
question of conscience, a question which had 
deeply stirred her, and which she proposed to 
settle, not on the plane of accommodation to her 
own wishes or by the method of sophistry which 
often lend themselves to reason and which bol- 
ster up inclination, but on terms of lofty unself- 
ishness. 

"For right is right, since God is God, 
And right the day must win," 

was Ruth's motto — a grand motto for man or 

woman. 

" To doubt would be disloyalty, 
To falter would be sin." 

Ruth's problem was simply this, and many 
young women have confronted it in moods simi- 
lar to hers. She was not only the child of wealth, 
but she inherited wealth in her own right, so that 
while a girl in her father's house with all which 
he could give her, she had besides an independ- 
167 



Life on High Levels 

ence which enabled her to do whatever she chose 
— buy pictures, go abroad, enjoy every luxury, 
and indulge every taste — still without count- 
ing the cost or fearing to exhaust her income. 

Yet Ruth's unsatisfied longing was in this di- 
rection. She ardently wished to teach, and a 
vacancy in the staff of a woman's college was at 
her disposal. To Ruth's mind no pleasure, no 
charm of travel, no ease or elegance, was com- 
parable to the sitting in a class room with a group 
of earnest students, actually in close quarters 
with real work. 

But where there was one person anxious to en- 
gage in this profession, as was Ruth, for the love 
of it, there were twenty-five equally well fitted, 
equally certain to fill the chair with entire credit 
and to the satisfaction of students and faculty, 
who needed the salary. Some of these young 
women had undergone great self-denial and en- 
dured hardships without a murmur through suc- 
cessive years that they might be ready to accept 
such a post, and either they had to support them- 
selves or there were others dependent upon them, 
to whom it was more than a caprice to be grati- 
fied that they should not be turned away. 

There was no doubt that Ruth would succeed 
well as a tutor or professor. But there was no oc- 
casion for supposing that she would succeed much 
better than would three fourths of the others. Her 

1 68 



Rich Girls and Wage-Earning 

taking the place, in plain words, meant that an- 
other must forego it, and the salary, to Ruth a 
drop in the overflowing cup of her life, was to 
that other the cup itself, allaying thirst and giv- 
ing strength in time of need. 

We talked it over till the last drowsy bird 
hushed its faint vesper song and the great stars 
burned in the far sky overhead. 

"I might decline the salary," said Ruth. 
' ' That course would help the college. Colleges 
are always struggling because they have not a 
sufficient endowment." 

"You would thus establish a bad precedent," 
I answered. " The laborer is worthy of her hire, 
and, rich or poor, the employee should receive 
the stipend for which he gives his services." 

" Then you think I should sit at home and fold 
my hands because my Aunt Luella left me her 
fortune. I think it is rather hard." 

"I do not think so, Ruth; but I am sure 
your wealth forbids your coming into competition 
with women who are poor, and who, needing 
work which you do not, are fully able to do it as 
well as you can. You would do a wrong to some 
one by keeping her from this position. But other 
fields are open to you. Other avenues are not 
blockaded as this one is. Why not carry your 
enthusiasm, your learning, your rare magnetism, 
and your gift of imparting knowledge and ex- 

169 



Life on High Levels 

citing interest to the classes in a working-girls' 
club, or to a college settlement? Why not go 
into the foreign or the home mission field, accept- 
ing the modest remuneration there offered and 
turning it into the treasury again for the pay- 
ment of another worker? In the mission field 
there is a crying need for volunteers, and the 
force is not large enough. You do not face sup- 
ply and demand on the terms which meet you 
when you consider a professorate in Chicago or 
New York. If teaching is what your soul is 
bent upon, there are people to be taught, and 
you can find them, sacrificing the career of no 
one else to gratify your own desire. 

"A rich girl of my acquaintance went at her 
own charges last year to a mission field in China. 
Another is engaged in Gospel work in the heart 
of an American city. Another has laboriously 
acquired the art of the framed nurse in one of 
our great hospitals. She is the daughter of a 
millionaire, and her home has been a palace, but 
she will exercise her vocation among the poorest 
without money and without price. Thus she 
will not lessen the chances of any other trained 
nurse who may seek employment in the homes 
of those who can afford to pay her. Should 
she enter on the practice of her profession, when 
there is no need for her doing so, taking an hon- 
orarium, no one could accuse her of violating an 

170 



Rich Girls and Wage-Earning 

obligation because, legally speaking, the field is 
as open to her as to her friend of limited means, 
and because there is not one rule for women and 
another rule for men, and men do not avoid 
business engagements in similar circumstances. 
Yet in her case, as in that of the aspiring teacher, 
there is an unwritten and a higher law which 
womanly natures recognize. A woman of wealth 
cannot crowd her sister woman to the wall and 
feel justified by her conscience. 

"Take another case, and a very common one. 
Hundreds of young women are deft with the 
needle, and artistic embroidery has become a fa- 
vorite pursuit in which many girls have attained 
very great skill. When a girl who verily 
needs the highest price for her work on linen 
or silk carries her dainty centerpiece or sachet to 
a shop, and discovers that she can sell it only for 
a fraction of its value because she has been 
undersold by a girl to whom money is no object, 
and who works merely for pin money, or— save 
the mark ! — to make enough to buy Easter or 
Christmas gifts, she has a just complaint against 
the cruelty of the rich. The latter girl has fa- 
vored herself at the expense of her sister. If 
poor and rich do equally enter the breadwinning 
lists, absolute justice requires that they shall do 
so on equal terms, that the rich shall not cheapen 
the market value of the work of the poor." 
171 



Life on High Levels 

' ' I think, also, a reservation should be made in 
behalf of the difference in the kind of work done. 
A certain gentlewoman writes respectably and 
turns an honest penny by describing various so- 
cial functions and bits of domestic experience, 
which easily find their way into print. Her writ- 
ing is mediocre, but it has a certain commercial 
value. She drives about in her carriage, wears 
velvet and satin, and belongs to the charmed 
circle of those for whom the paths are carpeted 
with flowers. She complacently informs her 
friend that her literary work pays for a crib in a 
child's hospital or furnishes luxuries to the inmates 
of an old ladies' home. Does it ever occur to 
the kindhearted woman that her charities should 
come out of her private purse, and that her little 
gift with the pen, never rising above the com- 
monplace, is by no means so remarkable that she 
should use it to the exclusion, for lack of space, 
from the columns of the daily or weekly paper 
of some young or older woman, to whom the 
work would mean shelter, clothing, and daily 
bread ? " 

Ruth and I talked all around the question, the 
conclusion for that time being that one rich girl 
would not yet enter the ranks of the paid toilers, 
though she would show herself ready to do so 
and be prepared if ever the time came when it 
should be needful. 

172 



The Maiden Aunt 



The Maiden Aunt 



CHAPTER XX. 

The Maiden Aunt. 

I T APPY and blessed beyond others is the clan 
*■ *■ which, among its connections, includes a 
maiden aunt sufficiently unattached and at lei- 
sure to fill in chinks, to go to Jessie's assistance 
when the children are down with the measles, five 
of them at once, to accompany grandmother to the 
hospital when she has the operation for cata- 
ract, to appear on the scene like a fairy god- 
mother when Molly's wedding feast is making 
ready, and generally to devote herself to the aid of 
whichever kinsman or kinswoman stands in need 
of service. This dear and useful functionary 
is less common than of old, for the new woman- 
hood in its various manifestations has opened 
other channels of work for the unmarried lady, 
and whether youthful or middle-aged, she is no 
longer obliged to accept support or favors from 
relatives if she is in health and the possession of 
her faculties. 

This, on the whole, is a great advantage, for the 
seamy side of the spinster's life, kept well out of 
sight, and only wet at night with her tears, was 

175 



Life on High Levels 

often, in the old days, her dependent condition. 
She felt that she "was tolerated, that she existed 
on sufferance, and as she went from home to home 
she was sometimes sorely put to the test to keep 
herself from repining and fretting, to be amiable 
and considerate and uncomplaining. 

But it being admitted that there were draw- 
backs in the former dispensation, and that the 
maiden aunt when we meet her to-day is usually 
a dear and prized survival of the fittest, we yet 
hope that she may not quite disappear from 
among us. She is the children's angel wherever 
she goes. Invested with less authority than the 
mother, she makes up for the lack by a tender 
and winsome influence, which establishes her 
position and leads the little ones, and the older 
ones who have reached the stage between child- 
hood and adolescence, to make her their confi- 
dante and counselor. To her the boys come with 
their problems in arithmetic and in casuistry. 
She listens with sympathy to the story of school 
trials and triumphs, and the earliest love affairs 
are poured into her ears. Auntie is at once the 
mother's prime minister and the comrade of the 
young people, and when, as happens sometimes, 
she has a house of her own and abides in com- 
fort beneath her independent rooftree, her home 
is the rallying place for the young people of the 
entire family. 

176 



The Maiden Aunt 

The spinster aunt is invaluable in our Epworth 
League, albeit we do not think of her as anything 
more than a gentle and well-bred woman, a little 
older than the girls, a little younger than the 
mothers, a woman in touch with life at many 
points, with philanthropy, with books, with 
church work, and with affairs of every kind. Her 
tact is invaluable, and her readiness to assume re- 
sponsibilities and undertake difficult tasks is 
sometimes imposed upon. Less impulsive than 
she was twenty years ago, the spinster is not de- 
void of spontaneity, and she does not act as a wet 
blanket on new departures, nor interpose objec- 
tions when daring new schemes are proposed. 
We may count on her to visit the sick, to be kind 
to the stranger, and to act as an efficient aid to 
the pastor, who often has occasion for unofficial 
help, and finds it in the elect ladies of the parish 
who are as much under his orders as if they were 
soldiers mustered in under a general commander. 

The whole state of public opinion has changed 
with regard to spinsterhood since we who wear 
silver hair were ourselves girls. In a country 
where the women largely outnumber the men, it 
is plain that all women cannot marry but it is 
also plain that the opening of a hundred avenues 
for woman's work, where formerly there was but 
one, has made woman practically independent of 
marriage. No woman to-day should be tempted 
13 177 



Life on High Levels 

to marry for a home, or for any mercenary rea- 
son. The strong probability is that so far as ease 
of life and freedom from burdens are concerned 
she will have more of both as a spinster than as a 
wife. 

The term ' ' old maid," conveying always a slight 
flavor of reproach, has been supplanted by another, 
quite as distasteful to me, namely, the " bachelor 
girl." I have never been able to see any particu- 
lar fitness in this phrase and prefer the good old 
English term spinster as, on the whole, more per- 
tinent and more expressive of a single woman's 
state. 

The spinster may choose her own role, live in 
her separate apartment, walk unchallenged in her 
own path, by day or by night. She has found her 
standing ground and conquered her place and 
overcome the prejudices of generations. 

But in no other capacity will she ever be more 
gracious nor more well beloved than when she 
wears the honors of the maiden aunt. 

" I have put quite out of my plans," said a beau- 
tiful woman, ' ' all thought of marriage. No mat- 
ter why. An accident on the railway, the stum- 
bling of a horse, the miscarriage of a letter, or a 
disinclination to try a new path, set it down to 
what you will, to something which happened, or 
to my own thoughts, but I am content with my 
single estate. So now I am going into my life 

l 7 8 



The Maiden Aunt 

work, and care for the children of others shall 
come first with me." 

This dear gentlewoman is about to establish a 
settlement for herself and one or two spinster 
friends who are unattached by family ties, and 
they will live in a dark corner of the city where 
the tenement children cluster thick as bees in a 
hive and there they will do hand-to-hand work 
for Christ and the little forlorn lambs who are as 
sheep having no shepherd. Instead of being 
" Auntie " to one or two sets of small people, they 
will be the beloved adopted aunts of a whole 
neighborhood. May God bless them and make 
them blessings to all whom they meet. 

179 



Hospitality 



Hospitality 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Hospitality. 

T OOKING back across the years I am often 
*— ' impressed by the remembered hospitality of 
my father's house. That dear father had a way 
of going about the world like a sunbeam incar- 
nate, always cheery, always cordial, always look- 
ing on the bright side, and his was the hospitality 
of the open hand and the cordial heart. Meeting 
a stranger who pleased him he would unhesita- 
tingly bid the man to be his guest, and my mother 
was never surprised at a sudden incursion of un- 
expected people at a meal, or the arrival of some- 
body she had never heard of, who had come to 
spend a night or a Sunday at the invitation of 
the goodman of the house. 

I never saw her speechless with amazement ex- 
cept once. It was May, and our carpets were up, 
and the house, so to speak, was all out of the win- 
dows. In the midst of a busy afternoon, the dear 
mother, with her helpers about her, had paused 
to take breath, when up to our door rolled a hack, 
and out of it poured husband and wife and wife's 
sister and children galore, all of whom had been 

183 



Life on High Levels 

asked on the impulse of the moment, some weeks 
before, to come and make ns a visit whenever con- 
venient, by that beloved man, who had never 
thought of the thing again. 

' ' Where shall they sleep ? " " What shall I give 
them to eat?" " The house is in such a state." 
" Your father should have prepared me." 

Not one of these exclamations came from the 
mother's lips, but they were in her speaking eyes 
as she turned her dismayed glances on the inflow- 
ing tide of guests, and then on us. Equal as al- 
ways to the occasion she then advanced to meet 
them, and somehow they were made comfortable, 
and the household was none the worse for the ex- 
perience. 

Hospitality of this old-fashioned sort still lin- 
gers in country places, and in the South and West, 
but it has vanished from our crowded and com- 
plex city life. Many of us have hardly room 
enough for ourselves and scarcely know how to 
accommodate visitors, and so we limit the coming 
of our friends to stiffly regulated and ceremonious 
calls on At Home Days, and to formal dinners and 
luncheons when there are many courses, and we 
all wear our best clothes and the children are out 
of sight. The grace of glad welcome, the simple 
offering of what we have, with a cup and a plate, 
for the friend who happens in, the doubling up 
and planning that we may entertain people we 

184 



Hospitality- 
like and keep them with us for days together are 
getting to he things unknown. 

And with its going a very dear and beautiful 
friendliness is going too. The children miss its 
educational influence in this new and needful 
counting of the cost ; more than of old there is the 
thought "for value received," in what we do for 
our friends and in what they do for us. 

When the thought of reciprocity, the commer- 
cial thought, enters, when bargaining is admitted, 
there is gone the fine gilding from the old courtesy 
which put one's house and all it contained at the 
disposal of one's friends. 

Every guest brings something worth hearing 
and seeing from his life into ours, and guests in 
their coming and going broaden the horizon and 
extend the outlook for every one they meet. This 
friend has been a traveler and tells of the places 
he has visited and the people he has met, his con- 
versation illuminating the books one has read, or 
firing the young people with desire to see and 
investigate climes remote and curious phases of 
existence. 

The missionary friend is entertained for a 
blessed red-letter day, and from that time on you 
are aware of a new interest in her field of labor 
and in all fields where Christ's servants have car- 
ried the banner of the cross. 

Sometimes in a serious-minded and sober circle 

185 



Life on High Levels 

where people have grown grave and inclined to 
look too much on the somber aspects of things, 
the entrance of a merry, it may be a frivolous, 
visitor acts with the effect of sudden sunshine. 
She is as unconscious as a child, and as careless 
of the effect of her words ; she lives blithely and 
brightly and, somehow, the jest and the smile and 
the frolic and fun follow in her wake, so that her 
hosts feel younger when she has gone, and wish 
she would come again. 

There are two or three admirable rules which 
simplify hospitality in our busy lives, and which 
by host and guest may be observed alike. 

The first concerns the host. True hospitality 
does not require you to make a great strain on 
your finances, nor to entertain in the style befit- 
ting your cousin Midas, but quite beyond your 
modest means. 

Give the friend you ask to your table the best 
you can afford, no more, and no less. Let the 
food be nicely cooked and daintily served, but do 
not strive for too great a variety, or for costly 
viands which are out of season. Your linens 
should be white, your china and glass immacu- 
lately clean, your silver shining. Beware of 
speck or stain, of any slipshod housekeeping 
which overlooks dirt, but when you have ar- 
ranged for your very best, think no more about it. 

When guests arrive for any reason unantici- 
186 



Hospitality 

pated, make no excuses for the plainness of your 
fare. They must take you as they find you, and 
all you need do is to give them a chair and a plate 
and receive them cordially. 

When you invite guests, be explicit as to the 
time you expect them to come to you and the 
length of the visit you desire. It is customary, 
and the custom is very sensible and convenient, 
to specify in a note of invitation the exact period 
the visit is to cover, from Friday until Monday, 
or from Thursday until Saturday, or a certain 
designated Sunday, the hostess being at pains to 
inclose a time-table and to mention the train or 
boat by which the guest will come, stating also 
whether the family will send some one to meet 
the guest, or whether the latter will find a con- 
veyance at the terminus of the journey which he 
or she can take to the house. 

Once within your doors give your guest a cer- 
tain freedom of movement. Do not hover around 
with perpetual attentions. While a visitor should 
not be neglected, and while pleasant plans may and 
should be made for the entertainment of a friend 
for whom you ai*e to some extent responsible, it 
is wholly needless to stay always at the guest's 
side, or to fill every hour of every day with en- 
gagements. Most guests prefer to have a part of 
their time at their own disposal, and with their 
letters to write, their work or their personal en- 

18/ 



Life on High Levels 

gagements, they can successfully look out for 
themselves. 

If there are children in the household let them 
help in giving pleasure to visitors, but they should 
not be brought in upon every occasion, nor should 
parents be disappointed if guests do not appear 
impressed with the children's beauty or clever- 
ness. Children are naturally of greater interest 
or importance to their parents than to other peo- 
ple, and the world is full of these darlings, so that 
they are not curiosities. Indeed, for the children 
themselves the best place is a happy, loving, and 
comfortable retreat in the background. 

I have a profound pity for the small men and 
women who are obliged to minister to the conceit 
and vanity of their foolish fathers and mothers, 
trotted out to speak pieces, play piano exercises, 
and sing songs for the benefit of friends of the 
family. These little exhibitions are usually in 
place only on the platform of the schoolroom, and 
are a mistake when the parlor is their chosen 
arena. 

" Love me, love my dog, 1 ' is a common proverb, 
not without appositeness. But everybody does 
not love dogs, and some people dislike cats. The 
owners and lovers of pets should not suffer them 
to annoy or distress those unfortunately consti- 
tuted persons who regard animals with dread or 
aversion. This intimation is not a superfluous 

188 



Hospitality- 
hint, for the adoring lover of a cat, dog, or parrot 
is seldom able to survey his idol from the alien 
point of view. I abate no jot of tenderness and 
regard for the lower creation, and I hold hi utter 
abhorrence the man or woman Avho can indulge 
in cruelty to dumb animals, yet I have not ceased 
to think that human beings also have rights in 
the case, and I am always careful that my guests 
are not subjected to too much familiarity from 
the household pets ; a cat calmly reposing on the 
center of one's bed, or lying on the folds of one's 
gown, may not be agreeable to every one, and it 
is not always a delight to have a dog or a bird 
interrupting conversation by the attention it 
demands. 

For the rest, a warm welcome, and so much at- 
tention as may leave the guest free, yet insure 
him every comfort, is the cream of hospitality. 

The guest's duties are not less obvious nor less 
binding than those of the host. On receiving a 
note of invitation the first obligation is to reply 
to it promptly, as in case of nonacceptance your 
friend may have other guests in mind, and punc- 
tuality in your response is imperatively required 
both by good form and by common sense. Having 
made an engagement, keep it to the letter, allow- 
ing nothing within your power to interfere with 
your promise. 

Should a period of any length intervene be- 

189 



Life on High Levels 

tween your invitation and its fulfillment, write 
or telegraph the day before your arrival, lest by 
any chance your hostess may have mistaken or 
overlooked the time and train. Be sure to send 
this reminder if so much as a fortnight has 
elapsed since the date of the correspondence. 

Never make surprise visits. Even among rela- 
tives and very intimate friends they are, as a rule, 
a mistake. Most women like to be apprised in 
anticipation of an impending visit, and the unan- 
nounced arrival may occur at an inopportune 
moment, when the charm of the occasion will be 
dispelled. 

As a guest one should be pleased and appreci- 
ative of whatever kindnesses are shown ; above 
all things, one should conform to the ways of the 
house, avoid unpunctuality at meals, be present at 
family prayers, and as far as possible ref ram from 
giving trouble. The ideal guest effaces himself 
at times, is not always lying like a helpless bur- 
den on the hands of his host, but has a sufficiency 
of resources at hand to provide a part of the time 
for his own entertainment. 

A young lady or gentleman is careful to keep 
in order the pretty room assigned to the guest. 
A hostess is sometimes annoyed, and not without 
reason, by the gross carelessness of those who oc- 
cupy the chamber of peace which she has lovingly 
adorned for their reception. My friend, whose 

190 



Hospitality 

precious toilet service of Royal "Worcester was 
chipped by the heedlessness of a brilliant young 
theologue who behaved like a vandal in his de- 
structive manner of using furniture and books, 
sat down and cried when she had speeded away 
her complacent guest. Be careful of articles lent 
to you for your enjoyment. 

As a rule, a lady refrains from offers of service. 
If there is but one maid or if there is none she 
quietly takes care of her room, makes her 
bed, and relieves her hostess of labor on her per- 
sonal account. 

At the allotted time for the conclusion of a 
visit the judicious guest says, ' ' Good-bye, " and she 
does not forget on her return to her home to send 
a graceful note of acknowledgment, the sooner 
the better, again expressing her gratitude for the 
pleasant time she has had, and stating that she is, 
after a pleasant journey, safe among her people 
once more. 

In these days of multiplied congresses and con- 
ventions it is often our delightful experience to 
be entertained by friends whom we have never 
met. The residents of a town open their houses 
to crowds of strangers and make them welcome 
at their boards. I am always filled with a wonder- 
ing thankfulness when a home is thus graciously 
opened to me, and I am sure there is an added 
reason in such cases for the greatest tact, the 
191 



Life on High Levels 

most abundant politeness, and the most rigid ob- 
servation of good manners. In visiting under 
the roof of a kind entertainer when you go to a 
convention be sure that you violate none of the 
regulations of the house, and, so far as you can, 
assist in making the time thoroughly delightful 
to all whom you meet. Make light of small in- 
conveniences, be accommodating, and show your 
appreciation of kindnesses rendered by word and 
by look. 

There is another than merely material hospi- 
tality of which this is a symbol and to which it 
leads. To be open to new impressions, to tender 
a kind reception to another's thought, to meet a 
friend with the spontaneity of good-fellowship, 
to encourage the reciprocal sentiment and the 
uplifting and ennobling idea, this is the hospi- 
tality of the soul. 

192 



The Neglected Rich 



13 



The Neglected Rich 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The Neglected Rich. 

' ' TJ AVE you called on Miss ? " I asked a 



young lady the other day. The question 
was prompted by the fact that my friend was a 
member of a certain committee charged with visit- 
ing members of the church and others who, for one 
cause or another, were not quite at home with the 
congregation. 

"O no!" was the ready answer. "I don't 
want to call there. Miss is too rich." 

"Has anyone called on her or her sisters ? " I 
pursued my inquiry steadfastly, knowing that 
the girls of whom I spoke were very lovely, and 
also very lonely, having lately come to the place, 
where they had few acquaintances, and having 
left a community in which they had spent years. 

' ' Nobody has called but the minister and his 
wife," admitted my informant. " We are afraid 
of their splendor. We are in such different cir- 
cumstances." 

" I have seldom heard so un-American a state- 
ment," I commented, while urging my friend to 
repair her neglect, but the little episode started a 

195 



Life on High Levels 

train of thought. In our church plans and work 
do we not sometimes tacitly overlook the well-to- 
do ; perhaps because a little awed by their acciden- 
tal elegance or their houses and grounds, perhaps 
because it seems that they have already so much 
that they can need no more. But desolate hearts 
may beat under sheen of velvet and frost of lace, 
and men and women often need to be comforted 
and cheered even when they have no stress or 
anxiety about money. 

A mission to the brownstone front might do as 
much good as a mission to the slums. In how 
many a fairly ordered home are there found neg- 
lect of God and a sorrowful forgetfulness of early 
associations and hallowed memories ! 

We have no right to intrude on strangers nor 
to force an impertinent entrance through barred 
doors, but the rich who come to our sanctuaries, 
as truly as the poor, stand in need of cordial and 
loving courtesies. They should not be omitted 
from our little feasts nor passed by on our calling 
days simply because, in a worldly point of view, 
they are more fortunately situated than ourselves. 
196 



Dull Days 



Dull Days 



CHAPTER XXIII. 
Doll Days, 

"Into each life some rain must fall. 
Some days must bo dark and dreary." 

\ 1 7E may as well accept the fact with philoso- 
* " phy. Look on the bright side as obstinately 
and as steadily as we may, cultivate a cheerful op- 
timism with all our might, we yet must now and 
then face a dull day. Possibly we have Avorked 
too hard and have been under too intense a strain ; 
perhaps we have met disappointment and de- 
feat where we had bright anticipations; maybe 
we are homesick and heavy-hearted and strangers 
in a strange land. There is a reason for it, or 
there is no reason for it, but accounted for or not, 
here is the dull day. 

The stormy day of sorrow, the hard day of 
toil, the chilling day of penury, are each suffi- 
ciently distressing, but they all take less out of 
one than the merely dull day. A wise woman 
said to me once — and then I was too young to 
understand or to believe her — "My dear, any- 
body can bear a real trouble. Anybody can cope 
with real disaster. The intangible, the imagi- 
nary trouble is much harder to fight. " 

199 



Life on High Levels 

I have found out since then what she meant. 
I know the pall of the simply dull day when life 
seems to have lost its flavor, when nothing looks 
worth while, when you wonder if things are to 
go on forever in the same weary, monotonous 
routine, and when you long unspeakably for 
something to happen. And as I know that you 
have felt in the same way and had the same ex- 
perience, I am going to give you a bit of advice. 

In the first place, accept the dull day as a need- 
ful discipline. There is blue sky somewhere, but 
for you to-day the gray light and the enfolding 
clouds are best. Otherwise your loving heavenly 
Father would not have appointed the particular 
atmosphere and the weather which it has 
brought. Nothing is ever gained by fighting 
against the inevitable. 

Next, drop your indoor employment and go 
out of doors, under the open heaven, and into the 
fresh air. A brisk walk will often tone up the 
system, set the blood in motion, and drive the 
clinging cobwebs from the brain. Try the effect 
of exercise and of coming closer to nature. Per- 
haps you will meet some one who will cheer you 
as I did once in St. Augustine when I heard on 
the pavement the tap, tap of a tiny crutch, and 
looking pityingly down into the face of a crippled 
child, met the brave blue eyes as they laughed 
into mine, and heard the sweet voice say : 

200 



Dull Days 

' ' Don't be sorry for me, lady ! It doesn't hurt 
much now, and the doctor says it won't hurt at 
all by and by." 

But the tonic of tonics is to find somebody else 
whose gray day needs brightening. I do not care 
how severe the trial, how deep the melancholy, 
it can be helped by unselfish effort for other peo- 
ple. Come out of yourself and your own sorrow 
into the life of the world. Come out of the pres- 
ent distress and take hold of the cross under 
which another faints, and so shall your cross 
grow lighter. 

Remember, too, how near and dear is your 
Father in heaven. As my beloved Faber puts it, 

"Down in earth's duskiest vales, 
Where'er my pilgrimage may be. 

Thou, Lord, wilt be a ready home 
Always at hand for me. 

"For God is never so far off 

As even to be near. 
He is within. Our spirit is 

The home he holds most dear, 

"To think of him as by our side 

Is almost as untrue 
As to remove his throne beyond 

Those skies of starry blue. 

"So all the while I thought myself 

Homeless, forlorn, and weary, 
Missing my joy, I walked the earth 

Myself God's sanctuary." 

This is very profound and subtle, and we have 
to think it over before we full} 7- comprehend it. 

20 1 



Life on High Levels 

But it is only an amplification of St. Paul's dec- 
laration that we are temples of the Holy Ghost. 
And our blessed Lord says, "Abide in me, . . . . 
he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same 
bringeth forth much fruit. " 

How can we have dull days if we realize the 
divine indwelling ? 

If the dull day comes of discontent, of impa- 
tience with our lot, of any irritation born of cir- 
cumstances, the remedy is to be sought in pa- 
tience, penitence, and prayer. So may we "drop 
the burden at His feet, and bear a song away." 
202 



Of Simple Accomplishments 



Of Simple Accomplishments 



CHAPTER XXIV. 
Of Simple Accomplishments. 

TN days not very far behind us, nearly every 
* young woman thought she must have one or 
two accomplishments. You could not pass down 
the village street without hearing in every house 
the monotonous practicing of weary girls who 
were condemned to sit two or three hours a day 
counting one, two, three, or running their fingers 
up and down the scales of the piano. Very soon, 
the young performer learned waltzes, jigs, and 
marches, or variations of "Monastery Bells, 1 ' 
"Home, Sweet Home," and "The Battle of 
Prague." Many became so proficient after two 
or three years that they were considered compe- 
tent to instruct children, and to be a music teacher 
was an easy and quite frequent way of earning 
one's living. 

By degrees, as we have emerged from the rude 
and primitive stage in musical culture, have heard 
more and better music, and know more about the 
whole subject than once we did, our feeling on 
the general advisability of universal piano study 
has undergone a change. We do not now insist 

205 



Life on High Levels 

that those who dislike music or who have no ca- 
pacity for it shall endure its drudgery of appren- 
ticeship. Their time can be more wisely invested. 
We have learned that of all arts music is the most 
jealous and the most exacting, and that only those 
who bring to it some leaven of love and some na- 
tive facility can hope to gain more than a foot- 
hold on its infinite shore. And, even then, the 
labor of a lifetime will leave them with much left 
to explore, much to conquer. 

But hand in hand with what is undoubtedly a 
gain, there is also a loss. Such as it was in the 
dear old days, the maidens were ready to give of 
their store, they would sit down in the evening to 
play for a tired father, they would entertain a 
home company, they went around to see a friend 
and lent her a new piece, or borrowed hers, and 
the simple light-hearted third-rate music did make 
people happy and added something to the gayety 
of life. 

I find that my friend Celeste, who plays su- 
perbly, who has been trained in Munich and Stutt- 
gart, on whose musical education thousands of 
dollars have been lavished, whose technique is ex- 
traordinary and whose musical knowledge ency- 
clopedic, I find Celeste never able to play for me 
when I ask her. The piano is out of tune, or else 
she is out of tune herself, she cannot play when 
not in the mood, or she is out of practice. The 
206 



Of Simple Accomplishments 

finest performers are generally out of practice and 
cannot render the least thing from Chopin or Men- 
delssohn or Beethoven, or any other master, be- 
cause they have not had time to study as they 
have recently wished. We have less home music 
than formerly, though we have finer concerts from 
professionals. 

If at a prayer-meeting the ordinary leader is 
absent, the pastor cannot often call with confi- 
dence on the young people present to sit down and 
play familiar hymn tunes so that the congrega- 
tion can join in. An elderly lady or a middle- 
aged one is more likely to come to his relief than 
one of the girls. 

In the yesterday which has receded far, and 
which your mothers and grandmothers know all 
about, accomplished girls were encouraged to 
sing, to play, to read aloud, not for even a remote 
hope of utilizing the gift in a pecuniary way, but 
just to be pleasing. I know several dear grand- 
mammas who still sit in the firelight and in ten- 
der musing moods croon old-fashioned lullabys 
and the sentimental lyrics of their vanished sum- 
mer. It is sweet to hear them, and you will not 
wonder that they have never ceased their lives 
through to be fascinating and most attractive 
women. 

If you study music, why not draw a middle line 
between the old days and the new ? Do not be 

207 



Life on High Levels 

satisfied with the mere tinsel, the gewgaws and 
the jigs, if any such can now be found, but learn 
to play well enough to soothe an invalid or cheer 
an aged person, to amuse a child or delight a par- 
ent. Learn to play accompaniments so well that 
you can do this for singers ; it is really a rare ac- 
complishment, and one worth cultivating. And 
be amiable when you are asked to play, and do it 
so willingly that you will confer a grace on the 
kindly act. 

A talent for sketching is another which should 
not be despised. The traveler who can transfer 
bits of landscape, amusing episodes, interesting 
incidents to his pocket-pad will double his own 
pleasure and confer a great deal of enjoyment 
upon his neighbors. A kodak, with some skill 
in photography, is likewise an acquisition in the 
line of artistic description, and helps one in mani- 
fold ways, especially when travelling. 

The accomplishment which is nearest our hand, 
least difficult of attainment, and on the whole best 
worth having, is that of reading well. For elocu- 
tionary reading of the ambitious order I care lit- 
tle. Its tragedy is too often bathos. Its comedy 
is overdone. When I see a hysterical young 
woman tearing a passion to tatters in the effort to 
"interpret " a great poem or a sketch from some 
well-known author, I am moved to much com- 
passion for her that she is so sad a spectacle, and 

208 



Of Simple Accomplishments 

for her audience that they are expected to sit still 
until she has finished her performance. 

Good reading is not of this claptrap variety. 
To read is simply to take the place of the author 
and tell his story as he told it, repeat his poem as 
he wrote it, speak from the heart of the printed 
page to the hearts of the listeners. Good reading 
is natural and unaffected. It is intelligible to any, 
even the deaf can hear the finely modulated clearly 
accented voice of the accomplished reader. 

I am sure that a little investigation will con- 
vince most young people that there is a welcome 
awaiting them, if they will but learn to read, not at 
a railroad pace over a rough road, but with clear 
articulation, sympathetic emphasis, and appropri- 
ate inflections. There are blind people, shut-in 
people, weary people who hail such reading, and 
in the family circle the reader whose voice and 
manner and readiness to oblige are united will 
find his services more than appreciated. 

14 209 



The Desire to Write 



The Desire to Write 



CHAPTER XXV. 
The Desire to Write. 

DEN, ink, and paper. They are common enough 
*■ and not at all expensive, and all over the 
world, in every clime, in every corner, there are 
clever young people who feel that here is their 
medium of expression, ready to their hand, a swift 
and easy method of giving out burning thoughts 
and blithe fancies, of winning fame, of writing 
their names among the stars. The desire to write 
is as frequently met as the ability to do it success- 
fully is limited. 

I am speaking here of the wish to write for pub- 
lication, not of the very creditable and wholly 
natural desire to write what one sees for one's con- 
venience of recollection, or for one's friends and 
family. I am constantly meeting people who de- 
clare that it is no trouble to them to write ; they 
are never so happy as when they are writing, the 
words just flow from the pen's point as fast as their 
hands can move. Not the easiest reading, dear 
friends, is this same rapid writing, and not thus 
have the masterpieces of literature been given to 
the world. 

213 



Life on High Levels 

A widespread impression prevails that there is 
a sort of magic ring which must be broken before 
the aspiring writer can get his work taken by a 
publisher. Editors are more or less surveyed 
with suspicion by new writers whose manuscripts, 
sent out with such tender love and longing, are 
returned to them by post, ' ' declined with thinks. " 
That hateful printed form, so cold, so relentless, so 
conclusive, is abhorred by the ambitious novice, 
and the cordially worded typewritten letter 
which some editors, kind-hearted and gentle in 
their generation, have substituted for the former 
formula, is not more graciously received. There 
is something so very intimate and personal about 
a manuscript over which you have spent days and 
weeks, that its rejection involves a severe disap- 
pointment. You cannot endure the idea that the 
postmaster suspects what is in the envelope which 
brings back the poor storm-smitten dove. You 
are aware that it is folly, but you nevertheless feel 
hurt and humiliated when your brain-child re- 
turns to you, unwanted, unprized ; it is like an in- 
sult to a member of the family. 

And then, you are so sure that the very papers 
which will have none of your work, which with 
one excuse or another send back your story and 
your essay, are printing other articles not half so 
good. 

You can account for it only on one hypothesis. 

214 



The Desire to Write 

The editors are in league together to repress lit- 
erary merit, except when it is bolstered up by a 
well-known name. 

Did it ever occur to you, gentle reader, that all 
these people with the famous names once had 
their feet on the lowest round of the ladder, as 
you have now ; that there is no royal road to suc- 
cess ; that every one who reaches the goal must 
press forward with disdain of toil, with accept- 
ance of drudgery, with endurance of drill and dis- 
cipline, with occasional defeat and depression, but 
with ever-increasing strength until the point fore- 
seen from the first has been won at last ? 

Did you ever consider still farther that the ed- 
itor ardently longs for the new note, the new 
name, the work that is well done by the man or 
the woman who has not been hitherto heard 
from ? That though the competition is tremen- 
dous, yet that on the whole the rewards in the 
writing field are not more difficult of winning 
than in other fields of achievement ? 

Editors, so far as I know them, are diligent, 
conscientious, and faithful, are among the most 
hard-working of professional men, and are always 
glad to lend a helping hand to the beginner when 
they honestly can do so ; always, be it added, re- 
membering that their first duty is not to the liter- 
ary novice, but to the public for whom they pro- 
vide a daily or weekly literary feast. 
215 



Life on High Levels 

What are the requisites for successful literary 
work? 

The first and essential one, without which all 
others are useless, is the having a message. Un- 
less you really have something to say, do not at- 
tempt to write. When people come to me asking 
me to assign them subjects, adding, "I could 
write well enough, but I cannot find a topic," I 
give them up at once. The born writer has more 
subjects than there are leaves on the trees. They 
start up before him wherever he goes, and sea, 
earth, and air for him are populous with fancies 
which throng upon his brain, and beg to be trans- 
lated into words. 

Have something to say. Then ascertain Avhat 
there is to be said about it. Study it in its length 
and breadth ; if it has a relation to history or 
science or nature or political economy, master 
every possible detail, and when you sit down to 
write, marshal your facts in order, and present 
them as in battle array. 

Write as you talk, not grandiloquently, not 
with overmuch rhetoric, but with straightfor- 
ward ease and to the point. To acquire style, 
study the best authors. One forms a good style 
by much reading of the men who have written 
lucidly and strongly from Plato down through 
the ages to Drummond and Ian Maclaren. 

Write as fully as you choose in your first 

2l6 



The Desire to Write 

draught, then go over this and cut out each su- 
perfluous phrase, each needless adjective. Con- 
dense, abbreviate, eliminate, be terse and brief, if 
in this period of many clamorous voices, you hope 
to have your voice heard. 

In writing for the press, be careful about the 
form of your manuscript. Typewriting is not 
imperative, but legible handwriting is, black as to 
ink, white as to paper, correct as to spelling and 
punctuation. Never send a rolled manuscript 
anywhere, and always accompany your manu- 
script with stamps to insure its safe return to you. 
Send any note or letter about the manuscript un- 
der the same cover, not in a separate envelope or 
by another mail. Give your full name and post 
office address with great clearness at the top of 
the manuscript, and count the number of words 
and state them at the end. 

You have now done all that you can do for your 
article. An introduction written by a famous 
friend will not help it, for in the world of journal- 
ism the sketch or story must stand upon its merits. 
You can, however, serve yourself by an intelligent 
choice in sending forth your work. A household 
paper will not require an abstruse philosophical 
essay, nor a fashion journal rejoice at a critique 
of poetry. The periodical to which your work 
goes has a scheme of its own, and can accept 
only such articles as fit into its plan. 

217 



Life on High Levels 

Against one step I must strongly urge you. 
Do not set out, without previous experience, with- 
out resources, and without friends who can aid 
you, on a career which bristles with difficulties. A 
youth, or a girl, determined to enter journalism, 
comes from the high school or the academy of the 
village, and finds in the great city no loophole for 
the work which from afar seemed so tempting. 
From office to office, from paper to paper, the 
poor, plodding aspirant goes, encountering disap- 
pointment everywhere, finding no rest for the sole 
of the foot. Do not begin thus. 

For the city journalist there is no better school 
than that of the country newspaper. Serve your 
novitiate there. Prove your fitness for author- 
ship by writing in your country home till you 
gain at least a little success. 

Avoid writing bureaus and other intermedia- 
ries. They do you no good in the long run, and 
you may as well deal with your publishers at first- 
hand. Depend upon it, you will not fail if you 
ought to succeed, for though the world of litera- 
ture is terribly crowded, there is always room at 
the top. 

218 



About Committing to Memory 



About Committing to Memory 



L 



CHAPTER XXVI. 
About Committing to Memory, 

EARNING by heart, the old phrase has it, 
Avhen the thing in question is the fastening 
the exact words of a statement or description in 
the mind. What we learn by heart we commit 
to memory, and memory is of all stewards and 
treasure-keepers the most faithful and the least 
treacherous. Scientific students tell us that we 
forget nothing, that even trivialities and affairs 
of light moment once given to memory's charge 
remain fixed there forever. Overlaid by later 
impressions, apparently out of sight and lost to 
consciousness, some slight touch will awaken the 
sleeping monitor, and the whole drama of life 
will be reenacted on the mimic stage. A waft of 
perfume, a bit of song, the strain of a street or- 
gan, the sound of waves plashing on the shore, 
a face in a crowd, and a train of associations will 
be revived, the world of yesterday will confront 
the world of to-day, and another proof will be 
given that we are beings sharing the immortality 
of Him with whom a thousand years is as one 
day and one day as a thousand years. 

221 



Life on High Levels 

Therefore it is that we cannot too carefully 
measure values when it is a little child whom we 
are teaching and whom we are influencing by 
means of that which we give it to remember. 
Our tones, our gestures, our opinions are for us 
the flotsam and jetsam of our hurrying days, 
but for the children around us they may set the 
seal of life for two worlds. 

There used to be a good deal of discussion as 
to whether a child learned most when obliged 
to repeat from memory the exact words of a text- 
book, or when allowed to give in his own words 
the gist of what he learned. Formulas in math- 
ematics and rules in grammar it was conceded 
must be committed verbatim et literatim, 
but history and science and other studies, most 
of which were mentioned in a lump as "the 
English branches," were allowed more latitude. 
My judgment has never varied, though there are 
newer methods of teaching now which throw the 
old ways into the shade, that it is much better to 
store a growing mind with the ornate words of a 
good author, than to translate those into the im- 
perfect expressions of a young student, 

Certainly there is no wealth comparable to the 
wealth which may be ours for the asking if ha 
early life we begin to memorize passages from the 
Bible, from Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Words- 
worth, and from the hymn writers whom we love. 

222 



About Committing to Memory 

Not only are our vocabularies very much en- 
larged and enriched by the familiarity which is 
gained by frequent repetition of a beautiful sen- 
timent or a stirring speech or a comforting 
chapter, but our ideals are elevated and our crit- 
ical faculties are developed. And much time 
is saved for us in the busy years when time 
presses if our minds are our convenient reference 
books, so that when we hear an allusion in a ser- 
mon or meet a quotation in a newspaper we can 
instantly verify or place it, or recall its context, 
because it is one of the treasures committed to 
memory. 

You know nothing about it now, my bright - 
eyed friend, in the blithe strength and gladness of 
the twenties ; but there may dawn a day in the 
long march of the days when you will not sleep 
as you sleep in youth. If one must lie awake 
when others sleep there is great joy and consola- 
tion in having some pleasant food for thought. 
The hours drift by slowly, it is true, but are 
neither desolate nor unprofitable when stanzas 
of poetry, thrilling lyrics, fine ballads, and beau- 
tiful scenes from favorite books come at a call 
and give one " songs in the night." 

Commit to memory's keeping many texts of 

Scripture, and a few beloved chapters of Isaiah 

and St. John and St. Paul; learn by heart the 

Beatitudes, and, indeed, the whole Sermon on 

223 



Life on High Levels 

the Mount. You will find your intellectual equip- 
ment vastly greater and your power of assimila- 
tion in every direction much increased and 
heightened by this simple process. 

I need not add that there is much rubbish in 
the world which is of the nature of useless lum- 
ber, and is not to be retained in memory if it can 
be avoided. For instance, take pains to forget 
transient annoyances and slights which wounded 
for a moment, but were not worth a pang. Com- 
mit to memory no grudge, no vindictive intention, 
no resentment. These and similar emotions, the 
offspring of hate and bitterness, should be oblit- 
erated from the tablets of the mind, and memory 
should be taught to drop them out of sight and 
out of hearing. Our mamier of forgiving an in- 
jury is often half-hearted and imperfect, unlike 
that of our blessed Lord whose forgiveness is full, 
who blots out our iniquities, and our sins and 
transgressions remembers no more forever. 

Remember the glad days, the bright days, the 
days of the years of the right hand of the Most 
High. For such days is the white stone, for such 
a name written in letters of light. But other 
days, and other seasons of wandering, and error, 
and temptation, and wrongdoing may be included 
in the things which are behind us, which we are 
enjoined to forget while we press onward to the 
prize of our high calling. 
224 



Candor at Home 



15 



Candor at Home 



CHAPTER XXVII. 
Candor at Home. 

'"THERE has lately been published a beautiful 
* little book, the story of a mother's life, writ- 
ten by her son. Readers of Margaret Ogilvy 
will recall the perfect candor and openness which 
prevailed in the little Scottish household wherein 
the beloved mother reigned a queen. 

There were reserves jealously held, so far as the 
outside world was concerned, and "a stranger" 
was regarded with a curious mixture of dislike 
and dread. In our easy familiarity with people 
whom we casually meet it is difficult for us to un- 
derstand the aversion which prevailed in Marga- 
ret Ogilvy's household against even the admission 
of an outsider as a servant beneath their roof. 
They consoled one another under the disagree- 
able necessity by reminders that the woman could 
go out on errands, that she need not be seen after 
her work was done, that somehow they would 
keep her very much in the background. 

I have observed a similar withdrawing from 
people only slightly known, in ladies whose lives 
had been largely domestic, or who had not had 

227 



Life on High Levels 

much to do with affairs. But the compensation 
for this in the Ogilvy household was that the 
home itself was a very sanctuary. 

The trust therein was flawless. There were no 
whispered secrets. Nothing was indirect or con- 
cealed from a motive of policy. There was never 
any walking over thin ice or danger that a mine 
would explode under one's feet, for the love and 
sympathy were perfect, the home people in speech 
or in silence understood one another, and the home 
interests were entirely in common. The whole 
picture is exceedingly attractive and winsome, and 
I am inclined to ask whether we are wise in our 
customs, whether there may not unfortunately be 
found that in many of our homes there is a reti- 
cence, not to say a deceit, always going on, which 
has not in its outcome the sweet harvest of homely 
happiness which that small Scottish household 
knew. Our sons and daughters are, from motives 
of mistaken kindness, kept hi ignorance of their 
parents' struggles for a foothold in the world. 
They would willingly share the sacrifices if they 
were admitted into the confidence of their fathers 
and mothers, but, kept on the outside, they mis- 
judge and resent where they might help and en- 
courage. Fathers grow old prematurely in their 
efforts to meet the demands made by their fami- 
lies, the families straining after a false standard 
of living, the young people indignant that certain 

228 



Candor at Home 

restrictions are placed on them which seem un- 
necessary and despotic, while if only the house- 
hold life were built upon perfect sincerity, burdens 
would be distributed and trials would grow light. 
In temporalities, at least, the ideal home should 
be fortified by sincerity. 

The rule works in another way and has its ex- 
ceptions, which are equally unjust in another de- 
partment. A year ago, in a Western town, a man 
died, all of whose life, so far as his family knew, 
had been a losing battle. Strenuous care had 
been the portion of his wife, constant and irrita- 
ting limitations had hedged about his children, 
and his own days had been passed in a long and 
exhausting strife to make both ends meet. Lo ! 
when he had been laid to rest with his fathers it 
transpired that the toiler had been laying up 
treasures and that he had left a large fortune, 
into the possession of which the bewildered heirs 
came, pleased perhaps, but still hurt that their 
lives had been needlessly hampered and clouded 
through the father's iron will and relentless self- 
denial. The wife, kept back like a child from 
acquaintance with her husband's affairs, was ill- 
prepared for the altered conditions, and for the 
older children the change came too late to give 
them the culture and the wider opportunities 
they should have had in full measure at an ear- 
lier period. Deceit, even for a purpose of ulti- 

229 



Life on High Levels 

mate advantage, is never justifiable. Who raises 
his house on falsehood builds on the shifting 
sands. 

The very tenderness of love sometimes seeks 
refuge in the veiling of truth in home relation- 
ships. We see in one very dear to us a defect of 
manner, a fault which mars the otherwise lovely 
and amiable character, and hinders the symme- 
try which we desire to see from gaining its just 
proportions ; yet we hesitate to speak, are evasive 
or silent or cowardly, where to speak in plain- 
ness and gentleness would be kind. "Experi- 
ence will teach that child," we say, forgetful that 
experience is often a very hard taskmaster, 
whose wounds are grievous and leave inefface- 
able scars. Surely from the lips of the home cir- 
cle the truth might be borne, and the candor of 
true love might aid the one criticised to escape 
into freedom from the fault which invited cen- 
sure. 

We err, too, in home relationships, in our at- 
tempts to shield some dear one of whom we 
habitually think tenderly, and whom we try to 
protect from the world's rough winds. Such a 
one must at all hazards, we say, be saved 
from pain, and in our efforts to do this we are 
driven to many subterfuges, which fall into ruin 
at the earliest assault of evil. In most cases the 
gentle and well-meant, though ill-advised, en- 

230 



Candor at Home 

deavors to deceive are not appreciated by their 
object, and in the end the truth has to be told 
and it leaves a sting which it would not have had 
at first. 

When our heavenly Father set us into groups 
and families and households, and gave us the 
strong bond of blood relationship, the tender tie 
of kith and kin, it must have been because in 
this way we could reach our highest development 
and attain to our noblest possibilities. That each 
family may arrive at the fullest and most sacred 
ideal of Christian living there must needs be en- 
tire confidence in one another, and a continual 
and faithful striving to abide in the service and 
love of God. 

But since every ride has its exceptions, we 
must not overlook the fact that love cannot af- 
ford to indulge in a frankness which is devoid of 
tact and may savor of brutality. The man whose 
love of truth leads him to comment on his wife's 
jaded looks, to remark that her gown is unbe- 
coming and her hat a fright, and who calls atten- 
tion in public to a defect in the housekeeping or 
a fault in the table service, is behaving like a 
boor. 

Robert Louis Stevenson, than whom few writers 
are more subtle, takes a text from Thoreau and 
comments on it after a most delightful fashion. 
" It takes," says Thoreau, in A Week on the 

231 



Life on High Levels 

Concord and Merrimack Rivers, "two to speak 
truth ; one to speak and another to hear. " ' ' He 
must," adds Stevenson, "be very little experi- 
enced or have no great zeal for truth who does 
not recognize this fact. A grain of anger or a 
grain of suspicion produces strange acoustical 
effects, and makes the ear greedy to remark 
offense. Hence we find those who have once 
quarreled carry themselves distantly and are 
ever ready to break the truce. With our chosen 
friends, and still more between lovers, for mu- 
tual understanding is love's essence, the truth 
is easily indicated by the one and aptly compre- 
hended by the other. A hint taken, a look un- 
derstood, conveys the gist of long and delicate 
explanations, and where the love is known even 
yea and nay become luminous." 

Our young people are a little deficient in the 
deference toward parents which at once asks 
counsel of them, and delights to lay open in their 
sight everything which pertains to the younger 
lives. Li Hung Chang, in a wonderful letter 
sent from Peking to a little Brooklyn girl who at- 
tracted his notice, said : " If your parents are still 
living, I hope you are dutiful to them. I have 
observed that the Western nations are not so 
dutiful to parents as we are here in China." 

Entire candor in the relationship between 
mother and daughter, for example, would save 

232 



Candor at Home 

the latter from many mistakes and sometimes 
from lifelong disaster. Yet I have heard daugh- 
ters say that their mothers were not their pre- 
ferred confidantes, and a mother, with a look of 
heartbreak in her eyes, told me one day that 
1 ' Mary is as distant with me as if I were a 
stranger. I know nothing of her thoughts ; her 
friends are quite unknown to me." 

That the associates of one person or set of per- 
sons in the home should be practically unknoAvn, 
not even on a footing of acquaintanceship with 
the rest of the family, is not an uncommon, 
though it is an unhappy, state of affairs. 

' ' I am driven from room to room in my home 
in the vain effort to find a resting place for the 
sole of my foot," a mother said, whimsically, with 
a smile, behind which was the suspicion of a tear. 
"Lottie entertains her friends in the drawing- 
room, Lida is taking a German lesson in the 
library, Tom has a client in the dining room, and 
Mary and Jane have a seamstress and the sew- 
ing machine in my room. There seems to be no 
place for mother and the mending basket." Yet, 
except in Tom's case, there was no reason why 
mother should anywhere have been excluded. 

In the ideal household the friends of one are 
the friends of all, with varying degrees of inti- 
macy. The girls and boys should not hesitate 
to bring home to the father and the mother those 

233 



Life on High Levels 

whose company and comradeship on the road of 
life make the road pleasant. The small separa- 
tions which grow bit by bit into great chasms be- 
tween members of the same family would never 
come there or would be swiftly bridged if the 
family habit were to share everything, and es- 
pecially friends. 

" I would not introduce Louis to my sister," I 
heard a young man say with decision. " He is a 
brilliant fellow, but unscrupulous and profane. 
Not the sort of a man I want Elsie to be ac- 
quainted with." 

The sort of fellow a man does not present to 
his sister is not a safe or proper comrade for the 
man himself. The sort of girl whom a young 
woman does not like her mother to meet in her 
company is a girl to be avoided. In the home 
there should exist an unspoken freemasonry of 
sentiment, so that without speech or much ex- 
planation the home people should be able to sig- 
nify approval or disapproval of those who come 
within its charmed precincts. 

Establish our home life on a rock foundation of 
impregnable sincerity and few blasts can shake it, 
few storms menace its security, few perils cross 
its blessed threshold. 

Above everything, let me urge you never to go 
on in a course of conduct which you feel must be 
hidden. From time to time we are startled by 

234 



Candor at Home 

the downfall of some one who has occupied a 
position of honor and usefulness, and the broad 
white light of publicity streams in with a glow 
like that of electricity on a series of clandestine 
actions, of borrowings that were thefts, of asso- 
ciations that were not respectable, of behavior 
that was shameful. The whole of it might have 
been prevented had there been an absence of 
deceit in the beginning. The cardinal vices, as 
lying, stealing, and the like, have an evil affinity 
and hang closely together. One often sees a fam- 
ily rallying in its strength in a forlorn and dis- 
tressful struggle to save a child, who has gone 
wrong, from the consequences of his sin. Alas ! 
there was a golden moment, had they but known 
it, when such family rallying might have hin- 
dered the thing from so much as beginning, had 
there been a sympathy and a knowledge so full 
and so deep that the very temptation would have 
perished at the birth. 

^35 



Good Citizenship 



Good Citizenship 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Good Citizenship. 

A MONG the chief obligations which confront 
** our educated young people, that of being 
good citizens takes high place. To live selfishly, 
leaving our country, our State, our town, to shift 
for themselves without our aid, is unmanly and un- 
christian. Our dear home land demands our de- 
votion, our love, our prayers, our work, and there 
are duties toward her which we are no more at 
liberty to shirk than we are to neglect or to shame 
the mother who bore us. 

Our country requires of us first of all an in- 
telligent and discriminating patriotism. Not our 
country, right or wrong; but, please God, our 
country, right, because her sons are bound to 
make her and keep her so, to uphold her banners, 
and to exorcise all which tends to drag her down. 
Bribery, corruption, and political knavery could 
have no success in a free land if our young men 
appreciated the rare distinction of good citizen- 
ship and stood steadfastly shoulder to shoulder to 
guard the country's weal and defeat the country's 
enemies. 

239 



Life on High Levels 

No young man — for that matter, no young 
woman — should be indifferent to politics. Politics 
and patriotism should be synonymous. If the 
girl has not the ballot, she has what is as poten- 
tial — the power behind it, the power of influence, 
the power of example, the power of love. In 
our civil war, on both sides of the conflict, the 
North and the South, the women fought as 
bravely and as stubbornly as the men, and there 
never is a peaceful contest at the polls in which 
the silent suffrage of good women does not count 
for as much as the spoken voices of their broth- 
ers and husbands. A girl's interest shoidd stim- 
ulate her brother and her sweetheart to vote for 
the side which will best represent the highest 
interests of the country and the race. A girl's 
scorn and contempt should humiliate the man 
who boldly asserts that he cares nothing for his 
country, not enough for her death or life to go to 
the polls and vote, not enough for her defense and 
her honor to undertake any service which she re- 
quires at his hand. 

That bad men are in politics, that one encoun- 
ters the low, the depraved, and the vulgar in pri- 
maries and elsewhere, excuses no good man from 
doing his duty. The bad will be swept away 
when there is a grand uprising of the good. Of- 
ten the bad are bad because they are ignorant, 
because they are undisciplined, because life has 

240 



Good Citizenship 

been hard upon them, and their environment has 
been unfortunate. Our bounden duty is to bear 
with the infirmities of the weak, to be long-suf- 
fering with men, but implacably stern and un- 
bending with evil methods, and to throw the 
whole weight of our personality everywhere and 
always on the right side. 

Our beautiful great country asks very little of 
her sons when she calls to them, " Elect the best 
men ; keep the courts pure ; decide on govern- 
mental changes with eyes open and minds in- 
formed ; hold fast the Lord's Day, give no chance 
for the European Sunday to break down the 
American Sabbath ; still and forever maintain 
this country as God's country." When our young 
men are penetrated with the right feeling con- 
cerning good citizenship there will be the old her- 
oism, the old loyalty to the land. East and west 
and across the sea our flag will be respected, and 
no man need blush to own himself an American, 
a child of this fair republic, and the heir of all 
the ages. 

We need to take ourselves to task in that many 
of us have been derelict in paying what we owe 
the State. "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem," 
cried the devout Hebrew, ' ' may my right hand 
forget her cunning ! " Let us cultivate patriotism 
by studying our country's history, by remember- 
ing her heroes — Washington and Lincoln and 
16 241 



Life on High Levels 

Grant and Garfield ; by investigating the sources 
of her amazing material wealth, her mines of gold 
and silver and iron and coal, her grain fields and 
her vineyards and her grass lands ; by following 
her rivers to the sea and climbing her mountains, 
and loving every foot of her broad territory. 
We have a country to be proud of — God's coun- 
try ! All she needs now is the loyalty and the 
consecration of her children — God bless her !— 
and this our young men must bring to her in good 
measure, pressed down and running over. 
242 



Our Debt to the Ministry 



Our Debt to the Ministry 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

Our Debt to the Ministry. 

T N the earlier history of our country the minis- 
* ter was a grand and stately personage whose 
progress through the town was in a manner pro- 
cessional. Children saluted him respectfully, 
and if he stopped to speak with them or laid his 
hand on their heads in kind familiarity, they 
were filled with awe ; a blessing seemed to linger 
in the air. Mrs. Stowe in her Old Town Folks 
and in The Minister's Wooing has given us a 
picture of the clergyman as she recalled him in 
the New England of her childhood and in the 
traditions of a still more remote period, a man 
clothed upon with dignity as with a garment, a 
man accustomed to homage, and one who, whether 
in the pulpit or out of it, bore himself always as a 
prophet of the Lord. 

Ian Maclaren in his portraits respectively of 
Dr. Davidson and of John Carmichael has 
shown us the change which time and its vicissi- 
tudes have wrought in both the minister and the 
parishioner. Probably this is less marked in 
Scotland than with us ; but Carmichael is of the 

245 



Life on High Levels 

new order, familiar, brotherly, social, impetuous, 
while Dr. Davidson is fatherly, benignant, and 
autocratic to a degree. 

The minister is, whatever you may think, the 
hardest worked man in his circle, and the cases 
are very exceptional in which he is not in labors 
more abundant than any man in his congregation. 
Not alone the constant intellectual drain involved 
in the preparation of sermons and lectures, and 
the physical exhaustion of delivering them, are 
taxes on his vitality ; but as St. Paul of old he is 
burdened with the care of the church ; its mem- 
bership is to him as his family, its sorrows are 
his, and his sympathies are always theirs to' com- 
mand, so that he halves every burden and shares 
every anxiety in his parish. Parents tell him 
their plans and confide to him their ambitions for 
their children's fixture, and if a boy is going 
wrong, or a husband has lost his position, or 
there is serious illness in a household, or any 
other combination of events, the pastor knows 
all about it. Then his gifts in money, actual 
gifts of solid cash, in propoi^tion to his income are 
usually larger than those of the well-to-do of his 
flock, for he leads here as elsewhere, while there 
are few weeks in the year when he is not called 
upon to put his hands in his pocket to relieve the 
poor or the distressed. Few men appi'oach the 
minister in the practice of unobtrusive and unos- 
246 



Our Debt to the Ministry 

tentatious charity, and when he asks you for a 
contribution, please believe that he is only asking 
you to do what he ungrudgingly does himself. 

Our first debt to the ministry is, therefore, a 
debt of gratitude that in a timeserving and merce- 
nary age, when money seems to multitudes the 
chief good to be sought, they set us an example 
of earnest unselfishness and of a consecration to 
duty which cheerfully faces and accepts poverty. 
Notably our missionaries do this, either at home or 
abroad, but the ministry is never a profession to 
be sought for pecuniary rewards. The man who 
enters it practically takes a vow of poverty and 
self-denial. Seldom can he save anything from 
his salary. But for all that his heroism makes life 
nobler for the rest of us and we owe him a debt. 

Next we owe the ministry a large debt for the 
culture we receive at their hands. Ian Maclaren 
again, in The Cure of Souls, speaks of the dic- 
tion of a sermon, saying aptly : 

' ' People have an instinct about what they hear 
from the pulpit, and their desire is the language 
of the home and the market place raised to its 
highest power and glorified. Every strong and 
clean word used of the people as they buy and 
sell, joy and sorrow, labor and suffer, should be 
of the preacher's store, but he should add thereto 
splendid and gracious words from Milton and 
Spenser, from Goldsmith and Addison, and other 

247 



Life on High Levels 

masters of the English tongue. The ground 
may be a homely and serviceable gray, but 
through it should run a thread of gold. People 
have a just satisfaction in seeing their best words 
serving in great affairs, and receive a shock of de- 
light when now and then a word of royal carriage 
mingles with the throng." 

I have quoted this passage because it is just 
here that Sunday after Sunday, week in and week 
out, our pastors lay us under an obligation for 
the privilege of listening to and absorbing beauti- 
ful and lovely thoughts clothed in the loftiest and 
choicest garb of language. An elevation of style 
in the common conversation of those who habit- 
ually " sit under" a fine and eloquent preacher 
may be traced to the influence of his fitly-chosen 
English, as well as to his sermons that ' ' allure to 
heaven and lead the way." 

We owe also a debt to the pastor for his open 
house and heart and hand, and not less is this debt 
due to the pastor's wife. 

I have an affection for the old Scottish word 
' ' manse, " designating the home of the minister, 
and bringing up a throng of beautiful domesticities 
and simple hospitalities whenever it appears on 
the printed page. With us, it may be, the pastor 
lives in his own hired house, and not in a house 
owned by the parish and set aside for the clergy- 
man, so that » "the manse" has only a poetical 

248 



Our Debt to the Ministry 

meaning ; but the minister's wife is as dear and 
sweet a reality here as in any moss-grown or ivy- 
mantled manse in the world. 

We hear it stoutly affirmed in many quarters 
that the mistress of the manse is of no more ac- 
count in the congregation which her husband 
serves than is any other lady there. She is not 
included in the contract, has no stipulated obliga- 
tions, draws no salary, is in every way independ- 
ent and free, and, so far as the parish is con- 
cerned, is a mere private gentlewoman. All of 
which is in a manner true. At the same time the 
truth is at best to be accepted with qualifications. 
Let it be supposed, for example, that the minister, 
marrying in his youth, has fallen upon those evil 
days which are the portion of the man who mar- 
ries for beauty only ; let us fancy him with a vain, 
or silly, or petulant, perhaps with a poorly-edu- 
cated and ill-disciplined, wife. Does anybody for 
an instant think that he will not be very much 
handicapped professionally, his career of useful- 
ness impaired, by this unfortunate marriage ? 
Granting that in any social position a man's rank 
and value largely depend on the sort of a wife he 
has taken to himself, is not the man in the minis- 
try, whose candle cannot be hidden under a bushel 
but must shine conspicuously in the sight of the 
whole town, in a poor condition if he have not 
a creditable and sensible helpmeet ? 

249 



Life on High Levels 

Providentially, ministers' wives, as I have 
known them, have been usually women of rare 
loveliness, amazing tact, and charming discretion. 
They easily take precedence among gifted and 
agreeable women, and they assume their end 
of their husband's work with wonderful command 
of resources and unfailing courage ; for the in- 
stances are few in which something is not ex- 
pected of them by the congregation, or else in 
which, expected or otherwise, they do not with 
rare bravery and without the least air of com- 
plaint share the crosses and the losses of the day, 
conciliate the offended, soothe the irritated, and 
in many a quiet, unsuspecting way sustain their 
husbands in their work of love and constant toil. 
Blessings on them ! 

A popular minister's wife makes very secure 
her husband's position in a difficult parish. A 
beloved minister's wife helps to win love to her 
husband. 

In a certain parish, where there were peculiarly 
inharmonious elements, several pastors in turn 
did their best, but retired vanquished from the 
field. Finally a man came to the post, fully 
aware of the various causes of trouble, the jeal- 
ousies between the young people and the older 
people, the feuds between certain families, and 
the clashing of interests which had made the 
church in question a reproach and a byword. 

250 



Our Debt to the Ministry 

Meeting the brave pastor after he had held the 
position with increasing success for several years, 
I asked him how it was he had not been defeated 
too. 

"Under God," he said, "I owe everything 
here to Lizzie. She captured all hearts from the 
first. There isn't a home in the parish where 
her influence is not felt. The women adore her, 
the young people consult her. She is the confi- 
dante of the whole congregation. I never could 
have gained a foothold here had I not been aided 
by my wife. " 

It is not every husband, not even every clergy- 
man, who is candid and discerning enough to see 
and own how large a debt he owes to the unselfish 
and gentle comrade who stands gallantly by his 
side in all life's emergencies and vicissitudes. I 
liked the man who acknowledged so ungrudg- 
ingly the debt he owed to u Lizzie. 1 ' 

The manse sets a pattern for many another 
household. Invited to tea at the manse table, 
the young visitor notes the simple courtesies and 
delicate politeness of the lady whom she admires, 
and absorbs something of the latter's loveliness 
and charm. Advice given by the pastor's wife 
is accepted and prized where it would be resented 
if offered by another. 

The parish has no right to exact anything from 
the wife of the minister, it is true. But she can 
251 



Life on High Levels 

no more help being influential than a rose can 
help diffusing its fragrance, and her natural qual- 
ifications for leadership, if these she have, cannot 
be hidden in this sphere of activity. If she does 
not wish to take the lead officially she can still, 
by her own excellence, and in virtue of the fact 
that her husband must be a leader, largely mod- 
ify the social life of the congregation. She is its 
first lady, and we are glad to accord her the place 
of eminence. 

When we have admitted to ourselves and others 
that we owe a debt, the next thing in order is to 
pay it. How can we pay our debt to the minister ? 

One of the very best ways to do this is to attend 
our own church regularly, not allowing the praise 
service or the eloquent stranger in another church 
to tempt us from our pew. A minister should 
be able, looking over his parish roll, to count 
definitely on the loyal service of his people. Sim- 
ply by being in their places at each service they 
help to strengthen his hands, and they uphold 
him in his work. There is no readier method of 
weakening a minister's influence and of render- 
ing his efforts abortive than the method of inter- 
mittent attendance on the appointed services. 

We pay our debt by listening appreciatively to 
our pastor's discourses. The art of listening well 
is so little understood that half the sermons 
preached every Sunday are never heard by large 

252 



Our Debt to the Ministry 

numbers of the congregation. Test this by ask- 
ing everyone whom you know intimately what 
was the text, what the analysis, what the argu" 
ments in the sermons he or she last heard ? Few 
people recall much which they heard, because 
few people listen with real attention. Never look 
at your watch during a church service. It is to 
the last degree ill-bred. Pay the same polite 
attention to the pastor in the pulpit which you 
accord to him when he calls on you in your 
parlor. 

Then, praise the minister wherever you go. 
When he says a thing which helps you, take 
pains to tell him so. Always repeat to him the 
pleasant things you hear, and bury the disagree- 
able comments under a loving silence. 

If your pastor proposes a plan of work and asks 
recruits to assist him in carrying it forward be 
ready for all which you can give, not of money 
alone, but of yourself. Here, as everywhere, 

" The gift without the giver is bare." 

Pray for the pastor. We do not forget to help 
and strengthen those for whom we always inter- 
cede at the throne of grace. The name we men- 
tion in our closets is sure to possess for us a 
double sacredness, and we do not forget to work 
where already we have prayed. 

253 



Why Should I Join the Church ? 



Why Should I Join the Church ? 



CHAPTER XXX. 
Why Should I Join the Church ? 

' ' \ I 7HY should I join the Church ? I can be 
' ' as good a Christian outside the Church 
as in its pale." 

The question and the assertion are often made 
by ingenuous young people who honestly desire 
to do their duty, but who fancy that in uniting 
with the Church they sacrifice something of their 
independence. They should be told that joining 
the Church is not, as they seem to suppose, a cross 
and a grievous burden, a clog upon liberty and a 
piece of self-denial, but, on the contrary, a great 
honor and a great privilege. Probably the state 
of mind in which they ask the question is one of 
unpreparedness for both privilege and honor, yet 
in some cases there are those who have suffered 
the inconsistencies of Christians, or their own dis- 
inclination to take a stand, to keep them hesita- 
ting on the border land of decision, instead of 
ranging themselves definitely on the Lord's side. 

Not so does the young man compare conclusions 
and weigh pros and cons when he is invited to en- 
roll himself hi a favorite regiment, or to write his 

17 257 



Life on High Levels 

name down as a member of an agreeable order 
or association. Here, too, he must join the awk- 
ward squad and be drilled, he must serve a cer- 
tain novitiate ; but he appreciates the offered ad- 
vantages, and feels that he will receive more than 
he can confer. Too often his unspoken feeling 
about the Church is that he will confer rather 
than receive benefit. A distinctly patronizing 
attitude of mind, which is based on mistaken 
premises, leads many men to act as if they be- 
stowed honor upon Christ's Church when they 
bowed at her altars and marched with her hosts. 
If thus they vieAV the " militant embodied host " 
which follows the Captain of our salvation, they 
will enter the ranks as half-hearted and cowardly 
soldiers. I never read Bishop Heber's splendid 
hymn : 

"The Son of God goes forth to war 

A kingly crown to gain, 
His blood-red banner streams afar. 

Who follows in his train ? " 

without a thrill of the heart, it seems so glorious 
to be numbered in that army of martyrs and con- 
fessors, of the excellent of the earth. 

The word "sacrament " really means oath, and 
is borrowed from the Latin, carrying with it the 
recollection of the vow made by the soldiers of 
victorious Rome when they set forth to conquer 
the world. So, when we sit down at the feast 
where we celebrate in the simple elements of the 

258 



Why Should I Join the Church ? 

Lord's Supper his body broken for our sakes, 
his blood poured out for vis, we take the oath of 
allegiance and fidelity, we vow to be obedient as 
those under orders, we accept all that is meant by 
wearing a uniform and adopting a button and en- 
camping beneath a flag. 

"When I survey the wondrous cross 
On which the Prince of glory died, 

My richest gain I count but loss. 
And pour contempt on all my pride. 

" His dying crimson like a robe 
Spread o'er his body on the tree ; 

Then I am dead to all the globe, 
And all the globe is dead to me." 

I do not think the full sweetness, the full self- 
abnegation, the full blessedness of the spirit of 
that hymn is ever so much as dreamed of before 
there are full surrender and entire consecration. 
It is " sell all that thou hast and come and follow 
me " which makes one a happy and efficient 
Christian, and nobody out of the Church can do 
this and live this as absolutely as they can who are 
in it, because in the one case there are reserves, 
and in the other there are none. 

The most imperative reason for our joining the 
Church, if already penitent and believing we 
have joined Christ, is that only thus can we obey 
the divine command. He said, " Do this in re- 
membrance of me," and, "As oft as ye do this, ye 
do show the Lord's death till he come." We 

259 



Life on High Levels 

have no right to be wiser than our Lord, and 
often to the soul of the honest doubter there 
comes great peace simply from dropping resist- 
ance and assenting heartily to the command 
given, "If any man will do his will, he shall 
know of the doctrine." 

Some dear young people hold back from this 
positive step because, as they express it, they are 
not good enough. For that matter none of us is 
ever good enough in our own poor goodness to so 
much as approach the Master. It is his good- 
ness, not ours, which gives us power to overcome, 
and all the promises of Heaven are pledged to 
him that overcometh. He shall have the white 
stone with the new name, and the hidden manna, 
and shall sit, says Christ, "with me on my 
throne." O, the blessedness of overcoming in 
the strife ; overcoming sinful desires and sin- 
ful deeds ; overcoming the powers of evil ; over- 
coming the world ! Let us confidently take the 
hand that was once nailed to the cross, and 
appear at the altar, and sit at the board, just as 

we are. 

" If you tarry till you're better 
You will never come at all." 

Let each one for himself disclaim all earthly 
strength, and exclaim in Ray Palmer's wonder- 
fully direct words, appropriating them as his own 
voluntary confession, glad, full, and sincere : 

260 



Why Should I Join the Church ? 

" My faith looks up to thee, 
Thou Lamb of Calvary, 

Saviour divine: 
Now hear me while I pray. 
Take all my guilt away, 
O ! let me from this day 

Be wholly thine." 

Another reason for our union with the Church 
is in the fact that " Ten times one is ten." Every 
recruit, every volunteer, every man and woman 
who are added to the rank and file make the 
army stronger. TVe have need to set our battle 
in array, for the adversary and his legions are 
not idle, and to the holy war it behooves us all 
to go. The power of numbers is impressive, and 
where an army corps is disciplined, as well as 
mighty and vast, the force is that of the individ- 
ual multiplied by the thousand and ten thousand 
fold. 

I have heard from some vacillating souls a 
timid and procrastinating excuse to the effect 
that by and by they would join the Church. 
They were not yet ready. To-morrow would 
be time enough. This seems very weak. To- 
morrow is not yours or mine. We have only 
to-day. ' ' Suffer me first to go and bury my 
father," cried the man in the parable. And the 
Lord said, "Let the dead bury their dead, and 
come and follow me." Christ's command is in 
the present, not the future, tense. 

It is as if one should say to a beggar in rags at 

261 



Life on High Levels 

the door of a palace, ' ' Come in, my friend, to the 
light, to the music, to the feast, to the fire ; come 
in, be warmed and fed ; " and he should say, "Not 
yet, a little longer will I shiver and starve, a lit- 
tle longer I will stand on the threshold, a little 
longer I will hug my rags and my shame." 

But never, dear friend, think for a single in- 
stant of joining Christ's Church unless you are 
willing to give him your whole service. " Lovest 
thou me?" he asks you, and if you cannot an- 
swer with Peter, ' ' Yes, Lord, thou knowest that 
I love thee," kneel down and plead for a softer 
heart, for a gentler will, for the grace of the com- 
plete surrender. 

" O Lord and Master of us all, 

Whate'er our name or sign. 
We own thy sway, we hear thy call, 

We test our lives by thine." 

262 



The Christ in His People 



The Christ in His People 



O 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

The Christ in His People* 

NCE, on a sweet day in early June, it hap- 
pened to me to enter a darkened room after 
a long drive over the green hills of Maryland. 
The instant I had shut the door I was aware of a 
presence in the chamber, something beautiful and 
fragrant and wonderfully restful; but at first I 
saw nothing, and it was only after the interval of 
a few seconds that I obseiwed in a vase in a corner 
a flower then new to me, a magnificent specimen 
of the Magnolia Grandiflora, winter than the 
whitest alabaster ; with a penetrating, insistent 
perfume which pervaded the place, the great 
flower, like a vestal uplifting a oenser, making a 
temple of the little room. 

Often and often since then the memory of that 
experience returns to me, and always as a symbol 
of the indwelling Christ. Do we realize it as we 
should, this precious knowledge that the dear 
Lord, once in the flesh and revealed to our senses 
as the Man who walked in Galilee, again and 
again shows something of his beauty, something 
of his divine tenderness, loveliness, and strength, 
265 



Life on High Levels 

as he makes his abode in the hearts of his fol- 
lowers ? 

How careful ought Ave to be that we show our 
Lord's characteristics in our gentleness, our pa- 
tience, our steadfast adherence to the right and 
the true ! When he was reviled he reviled not 
again, when he saw evil it shrank from his 
pure presence ashamed. When sorrow came to 
him, he comforted the mourning one; when 
want and suffering appealed to him, his very 
touch gave instant relief. 

Sometimes we forget our opportunity in this 
dark world to be a shining light, making glad 
the winding ways and scattering the gloom. In 
ourselves we have no radiance, but we can up- 
hold our blessed Christ, and he will be a lamp 
seen of all who pass us by. 

** O soul of mine, I tell thee true. 

If Christ indeed be thine. 
Not more made he himself thy kin, 

Than makes he thee divine. 
As through his soul there frequent beat 

Our human hopes and loves, 
So midst thy varying joys and fears 

His Spirit lives and moves. 

"But 0, my soul, as I thy good 

And evil ways explore, 
I seem to see the Christ in thee, 

His earthly life live o'er. 
Thou art another Holy Land 

(Ah, holy mightst thou be !) 
The olden joys and griefs of Christ 

Repeat themselves in thee. 

266 



The Christ in His People 

"No longing for his coming. 

No greeting him with scorn, 
No mountain for his praying. 

No sea by tempest torn, 
No cheer of friends, no wrath of foes 

From manger to the tree. 
But finds its faithful counterpart, 

Mysterious heart, in thee." 

If you have never read it I am happy to intro- 
duce you in these stanzas to Rev. Dr. Denis Wort- 
man's beautiful poem, "Reliques of the Christ," 
from which I have quoted only a few tuneful 
lines. 

The thought of the divine indwelling fills us 
with a hallowed joy, the more so that we have 
Christ's own word, saying, ' ' Abide in me, and I 
in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, 
except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except 
ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the 
branches. . . . Without me ye can do nothing." 

In lower and less permanent relationships in the 
earthly life we constantly see examples of the 
abiding of one person in another, by way of in- 
fluence, by way of command, by way of accept- 
ance and belief. The patient abides in the physi- 
cian, the pupil in the teacher, the friend in the 
friend. Highest and finest and most subtle and 
intimate of all is this love-life of the soul with 
Christ, in which he dwells in us as the flower 
dwelt in my little room, as the light in the lamp, 
as the radiance in the star. So do we thrill with 
267 



Life on High Levels 

the bliss of this tender belonging to him that we 
are fain to exclaim in moments of rapture : 

" O Jesus, Jesus, dearest Lord, 

Forgive me if I say, 
For very love. Thy sacred name 

A thousand times a day. 
For thou to me art all in all, 

My honor and my wealth. 
My heart's desire, my body's strength. 

My soul's eternal wealth." 

Looked at from this point of view the inconsis- 
tencies of the Christian are very sad, for they are 
daily misrepresentations of the Lord. If the 
child, going forth from the home and behaving 
shamefully, conveys to the beholder a mistaken 
impression of the training and care he received 
at parental hands, much more the wayward and 
erring disciple challenges criticism, for he is 
wounding his Master, and fighting on the side of 
his Master's enemies. 

As members of Christ's body, the Church, let 
us take to our inmost hearts the conviction that 
we must faithfully serve him, and constantly 
stand forth as his ambassadors. Never let us 
be ashamed to do this, for did he not say, ' ' If 
any man be ashamed of me and of my words, of 
him will I be ashamed in the presence of my 
Father which is in heaven." 

Never let us forget that the only danger to the 
Christian is in getting away from the Christ. 

268 



The Christ in His People 

" If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a 
branch and is withered." 

Furthermore, let us do valiantly, and live joy- 
ously, and walk the world as victors, for this is 
our assurance from him, ' ' If ye abide in me, and 
my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye 
will, and it shall be done unto you." 

AVe cannot be neutrals in the warfare with sin 
and Satan. Either we are on Christ's side and 
fighting with him, and his light is in our faces 
and his joy allures us on, or we are ranged with 
his bitterest foes and are striving against him. 
"He that gathereth not with me, scattereth 
abroad." 

269 



Our American Sabbath 



Our American Sabbath 



CHAPTER XXXII. 
Our American Sabbath* 

OUR precious American Sabbath, what fate is 
it to meet in days when Europe sends us 
its flood tide of immigrants to whom the Lord's 
Day is not sacred, and when our own pilgrims to 
older lands return from their wanderings with a 
weakened sense of responsibility as regards the 
fourth commandment ? 

Its fate is largely in the hands of our young 
people, who are growing up to take possession of 
their fair inheritance of freedom. As they ob- 
serve the hallowed day, or lightly treat its sacred 
hours, the Americans of the twentieth century 
will march under the white banner of purity 
and reverence or the red flag of lawlessness and 
scorn. 

Until lately our American Sabbath has been a 
praise among the nations. But bit by bit, a little 
more to-day, a little more to-morrow, the old 
landmarks are being obliterated, and. we are ceas- 
ing to be known, as formerly, as a Sabbath-keep- 
ing people. 

To take one feature, and one which is wholly 

18 273 



Life on High Levels 

in the hands of our young men and women to 
alter, without the delay of a single week. There 
is no sport in itself less objectionable, in itself 
more delightful and wholesome, than bicycle rid- 
ing. But when on Sunday morning we vainly seek 
our young men in the pews, and are told that 
they are riding their wheels ; when we meet, not 
single riders, but troops and throngs and armies 
of riders, young men and young girls, starting off 
for long spins in the early freshness of the Sab- 
bath morning, we can but own that their per- 
sonal pleasure and the gratification of the phys- 
ical nature have taken precedence of principle. 

Residents of suburban villages tell us that the 
tranquillity of the old rural Sabbath has vanished 
at the ingress of a mob of Sabbath-breakers 
mounted on wheels. 

I know the arguments urged by young men 
and women who are busy all the week and sym- 
pathize with those who are weary because of 
much and continuous service, for this lot I share. 
But I do not believe that real rest, even of the 
body, comes from ignoring God's laws and for- 
saking his sanctuary. Our young people, though 
they fail to see it, are like Esau of old, bartering 
their birthright for a mess of pottage. 

Instead of a race of thinkers, of strong, fervent, 
intelligent men and women, fearless in every- 
thing else because they fear God, we are rapidly 
274 



Our American Sabbath 

degenerating into a set of people at the mercy of 
every fickle blast of public opinion. Amuse- 
ment, in its proper place a legitimate and health- 
ful means of recreation, becoming the end of ex- 
istence, enervates those who pursue it in breath- 
less haste. Outdoor exercise and athletic sports, 
in themselves admirable and helpful in building 
up a firm physical life, tend to degradation when 
cultivated at the expense of mental and spiritual 
growth. 

We cannot afford to compromise on the Sun- 
day question in this country and period. We 
cannot remain neutral. On every side, with 
specious excuse and meretricious argument, those 
who decry the old-fashioned Sabbath-keeping of 
the fathers are pushing their claims. When the 
enemy comes in like a flood, then is the time for 
the Spirit of the Lord to raise up a standard 
against him. 

Almost as insidious and quite as deadly are the 
attacks made on our American Sabbath from the 
social side. "The Sabbath was made for man, 
and not man for the Sabbath," said our Saviour, 
and he clearly showed by his example that there 
is no ban laid upon works of kindness or compas- 
sion on God's holy day. We may without a 
compromise with conscience visit our sick friend 
on Sunday, for it is always right to carry cheer 
to illness if we can, and equally we may go to 

275 



Life on High Levels 

one in bereavement or anxiety if our going will 
be a comfort. The daughter may run in on her 
mother, if their homes are separate ; the children 
may very appropriately gather under the old 
home roof tree. This is not social visiting, which 
has grown so common in our cities that the in- 
formal receptions given on Sunday afternoons 
and evenings differ very slightly from similar 
functions on secular days. 

The novice in Sabbath-breaking ventures the 
first time on this hitherto forbidden ground with 
a trembling step and a telltale blush mantling 
her cheek. But it takes only a few Sunday even- 
ing receptions to blunt her original feeling and 
take from her the delicate sensitiveness with 
which she once repelled the advancing tempta- 
tion, and the epithets "Puritanical," "narrow," 
and "provincial" fall tauntingly on her ear, 
awakening an instinctive resolve not to incur 
such reproach. The offense of the cross has 
never ceased out of the earth, and, strangely 
enough, many people are far more distressed at 
being called ' ' narrow " than at being thought pro- 
fane or unscrupulous. 

It does, however, require a certain amount of 
determination to refuse the invitation of lovely 
friends and winsome acquaintances who ask you 
to come in for an hour informally, " We are al- 
ways at home on Sunday evenings," and who 

276 



Our American Sabbath 

listen with a slightly amused smile and a lifting 
of the eyebrows when you explain that you do 
not visit at all on Sunday, and that you usually 
attend church twice on that day. Unless, in- 
deed, you settle the question with quiet decision 
at the very outset and never yield an inch. 
Then, as invariably when one takes a decided 
stand for conscience' sake, your position will be 
respected and your example will tell for good. 
" One with God is a majority." 

Because this nation was founded on a broad, 
deep basis of religious liberty, because there 
sweeps in on our shores the flood of a great im- 
migration from Europe, because we are foolishly 
hospitable to every shade of unbelief which 
can exploit itself in a parliament of religions 
or elsewhere, we must defend our Sabbath. 
The sweet, still day, when worldly cares are in 
abeyance, and worldly business retreats, the 
"day of rest and gladness " given for the soul's 
protection and defense will be gone from us ere 
we are aware of it, or at least much of its tran- 
quillity and the sanctity of its observance will 
have waned. 

Whatever influence tends to secularize the Sab- 
bath tends to a general lowering of the public 
conscience concerning it. The public conscience 
is the aggregate of thousands upon thousands of 
individual consciences ; as we hold the individual 
277 



Life on High Levels 

rigidly to account we shall keep the popular 
sentiment at high watermark. 

We do not need anything Pharisaical. No 
washing of the outside of the cup and the platter 
is required, no insistence on rules for the rules' 
sake only. But we do need a widespread, ear- 
nest, and fearless upholding of the Sahhath day, 
so that legislators shall not openly carry on their 
deliberations about national and municipal affairs 
during its sacred hours ; so that pleasure-seekers 
shall refrain from its desecration by their wheel- 
ing, riding, driving, or jaunting ; so that women 
in society shall not reserve the Sunday after- 
noon for their entertainment of friends. While 
I say these things I do not forget the poor and 
toiling millions whose only holiday comes on 
Sunday. The wish to fly from the tenement 
home, stuffy, close, and bare of comfort, to the 
parks and the fields is so natural that it makes its 
swift appeal to the pitying heart. And yet, for 
the laborer and his family there would be truer 
rest in Sabbath worship than is ever found in 
Sabbath junketing. Hendry, in A Window in 
Thrums, represents the extreme view of the 
strictest Sabbatarian, and Hendry's little home 
was a chapel of sacred memories and pure tradi- 
tions, in strong contrast with the house where 
God is ignored and worship neglected on the 
Lord's own day. 

278 



Our American Sabbath 

When we go from home, too, for a vacation or 
a visit, let us carry our religion with us. One 
young girl, living her life simply and sweetly in 
the village where she is summering, can light a 
candle for the Lord the flame of which will 
never expire. 

"I dread the influx of summer people from 
town," said a country minister. "They so tram- 
ple on the Sabbath that they handicap our 
church work and alienate our young x^eople, and 
in a hundred ways hurt the cause of Christ.'" 

We must not join such a pai'ty. Wherever 
we go let us remember that we represent a side 
of life, sometimes unpopular, sometimes alien to 
the fashionable view, but always with the promise 
of the covenant-keeping Jehovah pledged to its 
support. Among the blessed things for which 
we must not cease to strive we shall not be 
Avrong if we include the Sabbath of the Lord our 
God. 

279 



Of Visiting the Sick 



Of Visiting the Sick 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

M 
Of Visiting- the Sick. 

f< O ICK, and ye visited me ! " 

^ The full significance of these benign 
words is seldom apprehended by us when we are 
in health, with strength to go about our duties 
and freedom to move as we will. Illness is a 
clog upon personal independence, a weight and a 
fetter; not its pain alone, but its wearing inac- 
tivity, its depi'essing weariness, its enforced cap- 
tivity, its "often infirmities " of fret fulness and 
caprice, and its burden of weakness makes it a 
disciplinary process hard to bear. Slowly, slowly, 
moment by moment, drop by drop, pass the mo- 
notonous days of the invalid, uneventful, unin- 
teresting days when the sands of life run low and 
flesh and spirit fail together. To some natures 
sorrow's crown of sorrow, in illness, is remember- 
ing happier things. Being laid aside, to one who 
has taken a vivid interest in affairs and had a 
hand always at the helm, is a greater trial even 
than pain itself ; that can be borne with heroic 
fortitude, but the battle with fever and suffering 
and lassitude tells heavily upon the will and 
bows the strong soul almost to the dust. 

283 



Life on High Levels 

' ' Sick, and ye visited me ! " I think the word 
of appreciation was meant for those who have 
soothed the stricken in such cases as nurses 
and doctors know, cases of nervous prostration, 
cases of chronic malady, cases of long-drawn-out 
torture. 

An acute attack soon runs its course. It is a 
brisk fight at the point of the bayonet. We 
know the worst of it, and take measures accord- 
ingly. 

But the heart's deepest ache is for the shut-in 
sufferer, especially if he or she has led an active 
life and the illness has changed life's whole en- 
vironment and put one ingloriously in the rear, 
when one has ever been at the front and in the 
thick of the conflict. 

It must be admitted that there are sick rooms 
where visitors have no business. In the valley 
of the shadow of death one has no leisure for the 
ordinary courtesies ; one does not wish to bow 
and shake hands ; one's acquaintances are in the 
way, and only one's next of kin can be present 
without intrusion. 

Physicians usually indicate the circumstances 
where visitors may be of use or the contrary in 
the invalid's chamber. The nurse knows who may 
see her patient and do him good by a call, and 
who will excite and tire him. An undiscrimina- 
ting nurse may cause the invalid a serious relapse 
284 



Of Visiting the Sick 

by admitting too many or too loquacious visitors 
when his strength is not adequate to anything 
which taxes its resources. 

The sick room must never be a thoroughfare 
over which the world and the neighborhood tramp 
to and fro. Rather is it a guarded sanctuary, a 
retreat, an asylum, into which only the gentle, 
the loving, and the judicious may pass, having 
first, so to speak, halted and given the counter- 
sign to the watchful sentry at the door. 

But I have known dear children of God at 
whose pale lips the cup of suffering has been held 
for many years. One dear friend was a girl in 
her bloom when the mysterious malady crept in 
upon her, which has held her, a tortured victim 
in a rack, till her hair is white. To see her smile 
over all that pain, radiant, victorious, to see her 
move her poor cramped fingers under the quilt in 
token of her gladness that you have come to see 
her, is to witness the triumph of love and faith 
over material anguish. 

She welcomes her visitors as if they were an- 
gels. They read to her, they sing to her, they 
bring her flowers, they tell her what is going on 
in the world, and she lies there and smiles at 
them, and they leave her as if they had been in 
the presence of the Christ. As they have. For 
lo ! he is incarnate still in the saints who shall 
reign with him by and by. 

285 



Life on High Levels 

I think of another, gone on into the world in- 
visible, the sweetest, gayest, most queenly of 
women, living year in and year out under the 
terror of a great suspense, again and again feel- 
ing the dread which forbodes the worst, when 
one must close one's eyes in the merciful sleep 
which precedes the surgeon's knife. To her, too, 
people went, young people particularly, as pil- 
grims to a shrine, and taking her their gifts, 
their cheer, their comfort, they never went empty 
away. When she slipped into heaven one sum- 
mer morning she left the world behind her lonely. 
Ill and laid aside, behold a power to bless was still 
hers, and, missing her as we do, we can rejoice in 
grief that she has gone to the King in his beauty 
in the land where the inhabitant never shall say, 
"I am sick." 

No matter what may be our preoccupations 
and engagements, we who are well ought to 
bear on our tenderest memories those who are 
ill. If they are in the hospital, perhaps on a Sun- 
day afternoon we can go and visit and sing for 
them. If they are well enough to read, we may 
send them books. The least we can do is to go 
often to inquire for a sick friend, and every day 
Ave may send a message. 

" Comfort one another ! 
Do not wait with grace unspoken 
While life's daily bread is broken 
Gentle speech is oft like manna from the skies." 

286 



Of Visiting the Sick 

The visitor to the sick must avoid lugubrious 
topics and melancholy reflections. Calamities 
and disasters have no place in the right kind of 
talk around a sick bed. Yet an aggressive cheer- 
fulness assumed for the occasion, or a perfunctory 
sympathy in which there is not the ring of genu- 
ine sincerity, are as much to be deprecated and 
condemned as the doleful and woeful manner. 
Tact is golden, common sense is invaluable in 
the conduct of life, whatever the emergency, and 
I sometimes feel like proclaiming this from the 
very housetops. St. Paul in a sublime passage 
exclaims, " Though I speak with the tongues of 
men and of angels, and have not charity, ... I 
am nothing." Our modern experience leads us 
sometimes to paraphrasing this on a lower plane : 
"Though I possess every grace and excel in 
every accomplishment, and lack common sense, 
I am a disappointment and a failure." 

Tact and common sense united with Christian 
courtesy will certainly prevent a person from 
lingering too long where his transient presence 
is desirable. No one should ever be hurt or of- 
fended by exclusion from a sick chamber. The 
family and attendants are presumed to gauge 
accurately the situation, and the caution born of 
love would keep the visitor away if absence were 
best. 

Our danger is, however, not that we will go 
2S7 



Life on High Levels 

too often, but that we may go too seldom, to see 
our dear friends who are laid aside. 

That darkened upper chamber is quite apart 
from our hurrying life on the high road. We are 
summoned here and there. All our swift hours 
are filled to the brim and running over with en- 
gagements. Day after day flies by on wings, and 
we awaken some morning to be shocked that a 
month has passed since we last remembered 
that we had a wounded comrade or a friend de- 
scending to the brink of the silent river. 

"Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of 
these, my brethren, ye did it unto me." It is the 
voice of the Master, and its accents are penetra- 
ting and sweet. And among the jewels which 
sparkle in that "inasmuch'' none shines more 
brightly than this, " Sick, and ye visited me." 

288 



Attention to the Old 



10 



Attention to the Old 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 
Attention to the Old. 

' ' OUT," cries a bright girl, reading this title, 
*-* ' ' how shall we pay attention to the old. ? 
The old resent our attention. They prefer to 
wait on themselves. They are difficult and un- 
reasonable, and we cannot be blamed for neglect- 
ing them." 

Well, my dear, what you say is in a measure 
true. The old are often difficult to get on with, 
and they do resent officious attention. Some- 
times they only find out that they are old by the 
quick and intuitive aversion which they feel to 
being relieved of ordinary duties on the score of 
their apparent infirmities. 

' ' I cannot keep my seat in the car while an old 
lady stands," was the first intimation which had 
ever dawned on the consciousness of one active 
woman that she had outlived her youth. She 
told me that it was hard to adjust herself to the 
novel situation ; that she went home, looked in 
the glass, took note of her gray hair and the 
faint lines on her forehead, and acknowledged 
that time had set his seal upon her, and that 

291 



Life on High Levels 

eighteen might with justice pronounce her "an 
old lady " at fifty-four. ' ' But I didn't feel old," 
she added. 

The fact which youth does not apprehend and 
consequently cannot accept is that the old do not 
feel old. This mysterious ego, living in the 
house of clay, is possessed of immortal youth. 
The tenement rattles about one's ears, but the in- 
domitable soul still surveys the world with the 
eager wistfulness of childhood's days. Nothing 
is altered, except that experience has overlaid the 
child's immaturity. 

The physical inability to undertake new enter- 
prises and endure fatigues is so often in direct 
contrast with the mental impulse to these that 
the man chafes as against restraint, and his deter- 
mination to go on as formerly gives him an appear- 
ance of crossness which he does not really feel. 

This generation has recently witnessed a mag- 
nificent spectacle. A man, past eighty-seven, a 
scholar, a statesman, a leader, has stepped out 
into the arena and summoned Europe to the 
judgment seat. Mr. Gladstone's utterance, his 
superb eloquence, and his convincing arguments 
on the situation of Greece, with the concert of 
Europe against her on the side of Turkey, is the 
most splendid achievement of the period, and the 
achievement of a very old man. Beside his ripe 
wisdom the crudities of youth are put to the 

292 



Attention to the Old 

blush. Yet, except as to the house he lives in, 
who shall call Mr. Gladstone old ? 

There are many things we all would like to do 
if we could, but the opportunity does not come in 
our way, There is one thing which we have the 
great privilege of doing every day of our lives, 
and that is the paying honor and reverence and 
gentle unobtrusive kindness to those who are 
older than ourselves. 

I never can say too often, nor with too much 
emphasis, that the crowning grace of manner in 
the young is deference. So many other fine qual- 
ities are the dower of American youth that it is a 
pity they do not always possess this also. A too 
great self-assertiveness, an impertinent familiar- 
ity in the tone and speech of youth as it addresses 
age, make us often regretful that our young men 
and women cannot be spectators of their own be- 
havior from the platform of the angels. 

Whatever else may or may not be ours, if we 
live long enough we shall arrive at the inn upon 
the road marked with the sign " Old Age." The 
progress thither may be leisurely, but it will be 
sure. Such measure as we mete to others now 
may one day be meted unto us. 

To be patient, tender, thoughtful, considerate 
in our dealings with the old, is to obey the Scrip- 
ture injunction to rise up before the hoary head. 
It is to strew flowers and not thorns in the path 

293 



Life on High Levels 

which is leading away from the roseate meadows 
of morning to the groves thick with evening 
shadows. It is to brighten lives which are grow- 
ing lonely, for, as life goes on, so many compan- 
ions fall away from the old that they are often as 
those who stand in the front rank, almost soli- 
tary. How few remain who call your grand- 
mother by the pet name of her schoolgirl days ! 
How few of his old classmates still greet your 
grandfather when he goes to the annual alumni 
gathering of his alma mater ! 

You and I, to-day, can perhaps roll a stone 
away from the path of a dear old friend. We 
can at least refrain from wounding the feelings 
of one Avhose feet are tottering and whose facul- 
ties are less responsive than once to the call of 
the present. 

With peculiar tenderness and sympathy should 
we minister to the aged over whose intellects a 
cloud has fallen. Thej- live in the past almost 
wholly, the present is to them remote and puz- 
zling, but they are back in their old homes, with 
the scenes of childhood revived and the dreams 
of youth again beckoning them onward. Second 
childhood! Let us hope that it is a beautiful 
time to those who dwell in its Beulah land. 

One cannot but regard with deep and sorrowful 
indignation the sight of an elderly person, fee- 
ble, with waning intellectual powers ; one who 

294 



Attention to the Old 

has done the day's work and left it behind her, 
treated now as if she were in the way. "Any- 
thing is good enough for mother," I heard a bus- 
tling daughter say. "She is childish, and doesn't 
notice." But I feared she did. 

It was an August afternoon, silent and languid 
with lily scents. The year was ripening, flowers 
and fruit were everywhere, and already on the 
hillside the brier vines were turning red. 

Shall I ever forget the thrill of horror with 
which the hamlet was for an instant almost par- 
alyzed when, out of the brook, was dragged, 
lying face downward, in a lilac calico gown, an 
old, old woman who had drowned herself there ? 
Poor thing ! They said she had been restless and 
flighty and had lived with her children, who were 
good to her, but she always complained that she 
was useless and an incumbrance, and she had 
nothing to do. Finally her mind went astray, 
and she lay down in the brook and died. 

I fancy it would be better usually to let the dear 
old people work as they wish to, even if the work 
tires them, even if they do it blunderingly. They 
are grieved to be told that they may sit with 
folded hands; they prefer to take their share in 
the housekeeping, and to go to the shop on busy 
days and lend a hand. One splendid old gentle- 
man of my acquaintance at eighty-six looks over 
the books of a certain firm and sees that they are 
295 



Life on High Levels 

correctly kept, teaches a Bible class every Sun- 
day as he has done for fifty consecutive years, 
goes to market, and when he chooses takes a 
journey across the continent to visit his distant 
children. His is a green old age because still a 
useful one. 

Do you like to read Tennyson ? If so, you 
must enjoy his wonderful ballads. Here is a bit 
from "The Grandmother:" 

" As to the children, Annie, they're all about me yet." 

" Pattering over the boards, my Annie who left me at two. 
Patter she goes, my own little Annie, an Annie like you; 
Pattering over the boards, she comes and goes at her will, 
While Harry is in the five-acre and Charlie plowing the 
hill. 

" And Harry and Charlie, I hear them too ; they sing to tbeir 

team, 
Often they come to the door in a pleasant kind of a dream. 
They come and sit by my chair, they hover about my bed, 
I am not always certain if they be alive or dead. 

" And yet I know for a truth there's none of them left alive, 
For Harry went at sixty, your father at sixty-five : 
And Willy, my eldest-born, at nigh threescore and ten, 
I knew them all as babies, and now they're elderly men. 

" For mine is a time of peace, it is not often I grieve, 
I am oftener sitting at home in my father's farm at eve; 
And the neighbors come and laugh and gossip, and so do I, 
I find myself often laughing at things that have long gone 
by." 

296 



Of Giving as Worship 



Of Giving as Worship 



CHAPTER XXXV. 
Of Giving as Worship. 

/^\UR lives would be singularly incomplete if 
^— ' there were in them no chance for giving 
as worship. I am of the opinion, and very 
strongly, that we ought to hail every opportu- 
nity to give something for the advancement of 
religion, for charity, for the riiissionary effort of 
the Church, as a means of grace, a way of in- 
creasing our generosity, and of reproving our 
natural selfishness. Instead of suffering in our- 
selves any impatience with the collection box 
we ought to hail it with love and joy, remember- 
ing the blessing of our Lord bestowed upon her 
who crept meekly to the treasury and dropped 
in her two mites, all that she had. We must 
not misunderstand the spirit of this beautiful 
story. There is no merit in the modest and un- 
obtrusive giving unless it be also liberal giving, 
and the distinction in the case of the poor widow 
whom Christ praised was that in proportion to 
what she had her gift was munificent. When 
to large liberality is added the essential of retir- 
acy from public approval or recognition, the 

299 



Life on High Levels 

quality of not letting the left hand know what 
the right hand doeth, we have the perfect style 
of giving. Crown this gift with prayer and 
bestow it with thankfulness, and it is the beauti- 
ful offering which has in it the incense of the 
pure heart. It is the giving which is worship. 

All our gifts to the Lord's altar should be of 
this sort. And to have them thus they must be 
part of our scheme of life, love must consecrate 
them, and faith must send them forth. They 
should be, first, systematic. A certain portion of 
our income set apart and sacredly devoted to 
the Lord should be put aside every week, and 
nothing in ordinary conditions should interfere 
with this. When everyone contributes as God 
prospers him, and does it regularly, we shall 
cease to see the chariot wheels of progress 
blocked because funds are lacking. Many small 
streams running from many sources compose at 
last a mighty stream flowing out to the great sea. 

Gifts should, secondly, be loving. Not the 
churl's nor the miser's gift, grudgingly offered, 
but the full-hearted, free-handed gifts of those 
who yearn to help on in this world those need- 
ing help, are the gifts which will be accepted. 
Let the gift, though periodical as to design, be 
spontaneous as to each impulse, and its blessed- 
ness will return in your own life. 

They should, thirdly, be intelligent. Look 

300 



Of Giving as Worship 

abroad over the wide field, and if you cannot 
bestow your largess everywhere select the por- 
tion of the vineyard wherein you will work. 

All the missionary work is not done on the 
home or in the foreign field by the missionaries. 
Part of it is done there. Part of it is done by us 
when we send them forth ; done when we sub- 
scribe to missionary papers, when we support 
mission stations, when we resolve that our 
church boards shall not groan under loads of 
debt, nor our representatives suffer because we 
withhold supplies. In every organized charity 
there are quiet people back of the bureau who are 
its sustaining and supporting members, without 
whom it could not go on for a single month. 

Do not let us overlook the fact that our giving 
of money is only one part and a small part of 
our giving. We must give our time. This 
means that we must faithfully attend meet- 
ings. We must give our thoughts. This means 
that when the time comes to vote we will not do 
so without the background of information which 
should make the vote honest and individual. 
We must give our prayers. This implies that 
our whole heart is in the cause, for we never 
earnestly pray for anyone or anything without 
thereafter loving that better than ever before. 

The giving which is worship must needs be 
self-denying. Nobody is ever entirely converted 

301 



Life on High Levels 

when the purse is held in reserve. The dis- 
ciple who would be as his Master must not hold 
dearest houses or lands, or father or mother, or 
wife or children. Still down from the clear 
heaven above us rings the trumpet call, ' ' If any 
man will be my disciple, he must forsake all, 
take up his cross, and come and follow me." 

We are never to criticise the giving or the 
withholding of others. We have in this to do 
solely with our own consciences. But young 
husbands and wives should have a fair under- 
standing on this point, and in the household 
planning of the provision for the future, as well 
as for the present, the amount fairly due from 
us to God should be considered and bestowed. 
" How much owest thou to my Lord ? " is a home 
question which none of us can shirk. 

Never must we in our most secret thoughts 
plume ourselves on our liberality. We cannot 
give in any hour of our lives as our Saviour 
gave himself for us, counting not even his own 
life dear. We are always unprofitable servants 
if we measure our service by Christ's goodness 
to our unworthiness. 

But we are stewards of bounty received from 
heaven, and our privilege is to so administer 
what we have that our Lord shall overlook our 
defects and accept our sheaves when we bring 
them to him at the end of the day. 

302 



Milestones on the Road 



Milestones on the Road 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

Milestones on the Road. 

C VERY birthday is a milestone on the road of 
*— ' life, the road which leads us home. As we 
pass the milestones one by one we seem to have 
made but little progress, the fifth, the tenth, 
the twentieth come, and then, later, the others, 
until insensibly we change from youth to ma- 
turity, from maturity to the second childhood of 
which we have been talking. It is well to keep 
our own birthdays, stopping at each for a brief 
retrospect of our yesterdays, and pausing to sow 
the seed of good resolutions for more beautiful 
to-morrows. 

A little daily text-book, with a stanza and a 
quotation or a bit of the word, is a pleasant re- 
minder of our friends 1 birthdays, which otherwise 
we would not be able to keep in memory. The 
friends' names written over against the right date 
serve to remind vis that those we love are stand- 
ing to-day beside their milestones, and we can 
pray for them or send them a letter or flowers or 
a gift. As the value of a gift is not in its costli- 
ness but in the sentiment it conveys, the simplest 
20 305 



Life on High Levels 

trifle lovingly sent will thrill with delight the 
heart of its recipient. The being thought of, re- 
membered, this is what helps to make the hard 
places smooth and to keep people happy and full 
of courage. If for no other reason than that the 
world is pleasanter when those who dwell in it 
are kind and demonstrative it would be worth 
while to cultivate the amenities of social inter- 
course. 

In one dear household known to me birthdays 
are always borne in mind at family prayers. 
Relatives and friends whose names are in the 
little daily devotional book are mentioned to the 
Lord, with a plea for their special blessing when 
their names occur in the regular order, and never 
do the birthdays come round, be the place ever 
so far away, that the intimate acquaintances of 
that home do not feel strengthened by the thought 
that they are thus remembered, for by prayer Ave 
know that " the whole round world " is "bound 
by gold chains around the feet of God."' 

Birthdays are not the only anniversaries which 
we keep ; there are milestones as marked which 
belong to the individual history in a still more 
subtle sense. I suppose that Jacob must always 
have returned in tender and glad solemnity to 
the night when he lay at Bethel with a stnne for 
a pillow and had that wonderful dream of the 
angels going to and fro on that ladder which 

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Milestones on the Road 

reached from heaven to earth, and to that still 
holier night when he wrestled until morning with 
his unseen antagonist who gave him the new 
name " Israel, " because as a prince he had power 
with God, and had prevailed. 

To some of us there are hours known only to 
God and ourselves, hours of soul-conflict, hours 
of emphatic decision, hours of struggle and 
triumph. No more important milestone do we 
ever reach and pass than the one which sees us 
definitely pledged to live no longer for selfish 
ends, but for altruistic and Christian objects. 
The day we give ourselves up to God in complete 
surrender is a monumental one in the story of 
our lives. 

Then come the days of courtship, of wedlock, 
of successful endeavor, of poverty perhaps, and 
disaster. The day our ship sailed away, the day 
our ship came in, the clay our dearest friend died, 
the day we made a friend, are all eventful and 
lifted out of the commonplace. But for these 
marked days we might become too strongly 
bound by routine ; these days save us from jog- 
ging along too complacently in the deeply beaten 
ruts. 

Our white world milestones are Christmas and 
Easter, the most glorious days in the year, the 
one celebrating our Lord's coming to the earth, 
the other forever testifying to his resurrection. 

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Life on High Levels 

The angels heralded the wondrous birth at Beth- 
lehem in Judea, and 

" Still through the cloven skies they come 

With peaceful wings unfurled. 
And still celestial music floats 

O'er all the weary world." 

The universal good will at Christmas-tide, the 
surging joy, the loosened purse-strings, the mirth 
and melody, and the pleasure of little children, 
all witness to the presence of the Child among us, 
all seem to bid us listen again to the Gloria in 
Excelsis. 

Nobody is churlish, nobody has a grudge, no- 
body is hard and forbidding at Christmas, for lo ! 

" The star rains its fire, 

And the beautiful sing, 
In the manger of Bethlehem, 

Jesus is King." 

Easter strikes a deeper note ; Christmas is the 
opening anthem, Piaster the triumphant chorus. 
Lord of life, victor over death, at Easter-tide 
Christ comes to us leading captivity captive. 

There is not a green grave in the whole earth, 
not a vacant chair, not a wounded heart, for 
which Easter has not its comfort and balm. 
" Therefore let us keep the feast not with the old 
leaven of malice and insincerity, but in singleness 
of heart, praising God." 

For our national holidays, Thanksgiving and 
others, we must stand on guard, for the tendency 

308 



Milestones on the Road 

among us is to exalt that which is merely utilita- 
rian, and we do not always prize as we ought a 
day when we have a right to throw business aside 
and simply enjoy ourselves. All work and no 
play is quite as bad as all play and no work. 

To plan for pleasure is a praiseworthy thing, 
and I wish there were more neighborhood 
frolics and social excursions and merry picnics 
arranged for our holidays. Festal times and gala 
times make the sober and serious times more en- 
joyable by contrast. A boon in a community or 
in a family is the person who has a gift for the 
details of an entertainment and who can bring 
people together, get them into pleasant relations, 
and make an affair of any kind go off creditably. 

A woman of whom I think here is not young, 
nor has she ever been very beautiful, or talented, 
or conspicuous in any degree. Her one lovely 
gift is in her lovableness and her genius for keep- 
ing her home at the highwater mark of pleasure. 
"You might put her down in the center of a 
desert," said her husband, "and she would stand 
in the tent door and smile as if she were on the 
steps of a palace." She is never cross or fault- 
finding, and she never forgets to say ' ' Thank you " 
for the smallest favor. In short, one of her 
sweetest peculiarities is that she has an agree- 
able word to say and a happy knack of doing the 
right thing in the right place wherever she hap- 

309 



Life on High Levels 

pens to be. The day which tells her years should 
be marked with golden letters, for she has a way 
of going about the world like an angel. 

Such a woman is sure to make holidays gayer 
and working days cheerier than another can, for 
she has..' ' a heart at leisure from itself. " 

I like to think of all our earthly life as a road 
leading on to the home in the Father's house. 
Let us not be chary of loving kindness on our 
pilgrim path ! Let us not only love one another, 
but tell one another how dear and precious are 
the chances for happy meetings, and how we re- 
gret the partings. When I was a little girl we 
used to sing in school, 

" Be kind to each other. 

The night's coming on 
When friend and when brother 

Perchance will be gone." 

When the lonely days come with our dear ones 
gone, when the moss drapes the milestones and the 
gray mists veil the sky and the sea, let us have 
no heartaches over our sins of omission, no regrets 
over harshness Avhich might have been averted. 

So let us live that all life will be luminous in 
the light of our Father's face. 

" Looking forward to the haven 

Where the ships shall all come in! 
Looking upward to the triumph 

Where we shall be done with sin. 
Looking onward to the love feast 

With the Master entered in. 
Looking ever to the ending 
Where the blessing we shall win." 

3IO 



The Value of Odd Moments 



The Value of Odd Moments 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

The Value of Odd Moments. 

T N this hurrying age there are few of us who 
* who are not often somewhat discouraged he- 
cause the time at our command is inadequate to 
all the demands we wish to make upon it. Our 
waking hours are filled with imperative duties, 
relentless in their sway. "We are bound to 
others ; employers, places of responsibility, work 
which engages our attention— we are not free to 
follow our bent ; and if we attempt too much in 
our times of leisure, it is at the peril of sight or 
nerves or temper or health. So there comes for 
us a mood of discouragement, and we look out 
over the years that are coming with a sense of 
impatience, as if they were to stretch on like a 
long, weary day. on a long white, uninteresting 
road. 

There are two aspects of the case which Ave 
overlook in our temporary moods of dissatisfac- 
tion with the thing that is. while we are vainly 
longing for the thing that is not, but which we 
would like to see. One of these is that drudg- 
ery per se is not a bad thing for anyone. The 

313 



Life on High Levels 

necessity for daily plodding on, along a certain 
line, holds us firmly to an ideal of duty, culti- 
vates in us a sense of responsibility, and in the 
end enables us to accomplish much more than 
we could do by sporadic effort. Good old Dr. 
Wayland used to tell his classes tersely that 
nothing could stand before days' works ; and we 
know from observation as well as from experi- 
ence that those who make solid gains in the end 
in any line are those who forge steadily ahead, 
not especially caring for moods and tenses, but 
performing the task of the hour within the hour 
to the best of their ability. No one is wise who 
underestimates the opportunity given for char- 
acter development by the unobtrusive, ever- 
recurring daily task, the engagement which 
must be met, the place at the desk or behind the 
counter, or in the committee room at which one 
is expected, and where one quietly fills in the 
little space which belongs to him or her. 

Apart from this, however, anyone who is 
really in earnest about self-improvement will 
not fail to find that there are many odd mo- 
ments in the day which may be used to advan- 
tage, and if not neglected will give one the 
chance of stepping up and out into a broader 
sphere. We are very apt to look doubtfully at 
the few moments here and few minutes there 
during which we are detained and in which we 

3H 



The Value of Odd Moments 

have nothing to do. Yet a distinguished and 
eminent oculist once told me that if people 
whose eyes are not strong would rest them for 
three minutes at the end of each half -hour they 
would find great advantage at the end of the 
day. 

I met a friend one morning crossing a ferry. 
He took out of his pocket a Greek Testament, 
which he read with absorbed attention during 
the seven minutes which the boat occupied in 
crossing the river. Some time afterward I 
asked him about this, and he said that he had 
made it his habit for a long time to keep up his 
Greek, either in the Testament or the classics, 
by simply carrying a book and reading it in his 
daily trips across the ferry to and from his 
work. 

A very busy friend, charged with the care of 
a large establishment, showed me some time ago 
a really elaborate and beautiful piece of embroid- 
ery, such a lovely piece of work as one sends 
down in a family as an heirloom. I said, 
"When do you find time for such work as 
this?" and she remarked, "In the morning one 
or two members of the family are apt to be a 
little tardy in coming to breakfast, and as I like 
to pour their coffee myself I always linger until 
the last one has appeared. Then I have a few 
moments every day in which I wait for the post- 

315 



Life on High Levels 

man, for the butcher and the grocer, and while 
I am detained in this part of the house looking 
for them I simply have my embroidery, my 
silks, my patterns, and do a little bit each day. 
In the course of a few months I have something 
to show for my labor." 

A poor mechanic, struggling under the load of 
small wages and a large family, once sent to me 
to borrow some books. Supposing that he cared 
only for what might be entertaining I selected 
something which I thought would please him, 
and gave it to the messenger, his little tow- 
headed, freckle-faced son. The next morning 
there came to me a very kind and polite note 
from the man, saying, " Dear Madam : I thank 
you very much for your goodness in being will- 
ing to lend me books, but as I have only odd 
moments in which to read I cannot spend my 
time on anything so light. "Would you kindly 
send me Draper's Intellectual Development of 
Europe, or a volume of Macaulay's Essays, or 
else some really good work of biography ? " I 
was pleased to accede to such a request from 
such a source, and even though my friend has 
never been able to rise into a position in which 
his daily labor has been well rewarded, I have 
great gratification in knowing that his children 
are turning out well and that they will probably 
have a better vantage-ground in life than their 

316 



The Value of Odd Moments 

father, as, if they imitate his example in the 
care of their odd moments, there is no knowing 
at what point they may finally arrive. 

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe did not, it is true, 
write her great book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, in 
odd moments, but she had so accustomed herself 
to working under pressure, and to carrying on 
her literary employment while superintending 
her household, baking the bread, and looking 
after the various affairs of her life, as the wife of 
a professor, that the story grew under her hand 
while her other work went on. 

Lucy Larcom, in her story of a New England 
Girlhood, shows us the employees of Lowell 
factories educating themselves by diligent study 
in their " between times," and one need not go 
back to Lowell mills nor to well-known names 
in literature for examples of equal success in 
broadening one's horizon and preparing one's 
own path to a career. 

Such a young woman as one whom I know, 
whose sphere of service was originally in the 
folding room of a publishing house, but who took 
pains to improve her handwriting and her arith- 
metic and then aco^ured the art of bookkeeping 
by study in the evenings, is an instance of the re- 
wards which follow painstaking and faithful en- 
deavor. A vacancy occurred in a bank, and the 
teacher of Miss Emily's Bible class recommended 

3*7 



Life on High Levels 

her to fill it. She stepped from one sort of work 
to another without the loss of a day, and has 
easily kept the pace there with her fellow -clerks 
who are graduates of colleges. She possesses ex- 
actness, accuracy, the habit of attention, and a 
cheerf id willingness to undei*take any extra duty 
without complaint or air of injury. Consequently 
she is worth much to the institution which em- 
ploys her, and in a comparatively brief time she 
has had two promotions with increase of salary 
in each case. 

There is no reason why one should rest con- 
tented with a certain measure of attainment if 
by perseverance and thrift of time and watching 
for opportunity one may reach a higher altitude. 
Thus a girl who is already a proficient stenogra- 
pher may try for greater speed, as well as entire 
accuracy, and her general usefulness will be 
augmented if she practice a careful attention to 
detail and cultivate a sort of economy akin to that 
of the bird that weaves every dainty tiling she 
can find into the lining of her nest. 

No knowledge, no scrap of information, comes 
amiss to the young woman whose ambition is sat- 
isfied with nothing short of excellence in her 
chosen department. She will discover, more- 
over, that it will do her no harm to take up. if 
not in her odd moments, yet in her occasional 
evenings, the study of bookkeeping, or of spell- 

*i8 



The Value of Odd Moments 

ing, or of rhetoric. The wider our acquaintance 
with branches having some relation to the one 
which is particularly our own the more probable 
it is that we shall be able to rise to places of effi- 
ciency and trust. To him who is faithful in the 
least there comes the open door of service where 
he can be faithfid in much, and the successful 
ruler over one city shall in good time hear a voice 
saying to him, " Be thou ruler over ten cities." 

Two young people start out in life with appar- 
ently equal equipment, and their chances of suc- 
cess seem so nicely balanced that one can hardly 
predict which will outstrip the other. Watch 
them as the years slip by. You discover that one 
remains stationary ; he makes no progress ; 
younger men pass him in the eager race of life ; 
he grows rusty and behind the times. The other 
little by little climbs, each foothold being kept as 
it is gained, each advance making sure another 
in due time. His motto might be, "Without 
haste, and without rest," for he never seems hur- 
ried or worried or preoccupied, but no point once 
won is ever lost, for he is bent on making every 
talent serve him, and he goes on conquering suc- 
cess by patient well-doing. lie does not lose odd 
moments. He is on hand when he is wanted. 
His pluck, diligence, and fidelity stand him in 
good stead. 

Far be it from me in this chapter to urge on 

319 



Life on High Levels 

any young man or woman that breathless and 
rushing sort of effort which takes no note of the 
need of recreation, which leaves no space for 
prayer, which has no margin for meditation. 
Odd moments are not wasted which are given to 
resting when one is tired, or, above all, to the cul- 
tivation of the soul's communion with God. 
Idleness and inertia are very different from lei- 
sure and introspection. The latter have their 
beautiful uses, the former are dead weights on 
progress. 

" Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." This 
is a legend to blazon on the tablets of the mind 
and memory. And when you are doubtful as to 
the voice which speaks to you, the call which 
urges you to go here or go there, say to yourself, 
" What, were he here on earth, would Jesus do ? " 
and pray for the right answer, and be not dis- 
obedient to the heavenly vision. For Jesus is 
yet present with us, as if still He tabernacled in 
the flesh, and if we but walk as under orders, we 
shall not wander from the path. "Whatsoever 
He saith unto you, do it ! " 
320